Missing: One Old Monkey
ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Tobi the monkey is old, doesn't have all her teeth and may be confused. She's missing, and her owners, neighbors and animal control officers in St. Charles County have been combing the streets and woods for her.
Tobi, a capuchin monkey, was last seen Thursday in the Wheeler Canyon Estates subdivision, just south of the Page Avenue bridge near the Katy Trail in St. Charles County. She weighs between 6 and 8 pounds and has a tan back and dark brown head, legs, tail and chest. She's over 40 years old, considered a senior citizen in capuchin monkey circles.
"Her mind isn't working like it used to," said Dr. Earl "Jack" Wipfler, who claims dryly that Tobi belongs to his wife, Shirley, not him. Tobi escaped from the Wipflers' home on Duckett Place on Tuesday. Duckett is about a mile from where she was last seen Thursday.
Animal control officers set up traps baited with fruit and vegetables, and neighbors are on alert. Tobi has been a part of the Wipfler family for 38 years and normally sticks close to her monkey house in the backyard, although there's nothing to keep her from wandering off, the Wipflers said.
She last wandered off several years ago and was gone for a few months. Tobi was eventually found less than a mile away and had been living off someone's garden. Those homeowners reported to animal control officers that a gorilla was in their yard and that their two dogs were too terrified to come out of their doghouse, Shirley Wipfler said.
But because of Tobi's age, this escape is different. "I'm very worried, although she's used to surviving," she said, pointing out that Tobi has a water source because she was spotted near a creek and she can still forage for food. Just recently, Wipfler said, Tobi grabbed a bumblebee out of the air and popped it in her mouth for a snack.
Wipfler said Tobi is "a real sweetheart," but animal control officials worry that because she is out of her element and may be scared, she could bite people. Theresa Williams, director of the county's division of humane services, said keeping a monkey as a pet in St. Charles County is legal.
Anyone who spots Tobi is asked not to approach her, but rather call Animal Control at 636-949-7387 or St. Charles County Dispatch and Alarm at 636-949-3042.