Family reunited with beloved pet spider monkey after 24-hour search with help from dogs, thermal cameras

Family reunited with beloved pet spider monkey after 24-hour search with help from dogs, thermal cameras

New York Post·2023-09-28 20:02

A Mississippi family was reunited with their beloved pet spider monkey after dozens of volunteers joined in the 24-hour search and managed to track down the pesky primate with thermal cameras and hunting dogs.

Cameron and Kaitlynn Cuevas, of Biloxi, adopted Kenzie two years ago when she was just six weeks old and the animal quickly became part of their family, the couple told WCAX

“She’s with us every single day,” Cameron Cuevas told the outlet, holding the diapered monkey. “Just like a baby. All she knows is us, our family and our three kids. She’s one of our kids.” 

The Cuevas have three other children — all humans.

The family had left Kenzie with Cameron’s mom and were devastated when she called around 10 a.m. on Sunday and told them the monkey had escaped into the woods outside.

“My body went cold,” Kaitlynn said. “I got chills and I just cried. It didn’t feel like it was real. There’s no way.”

The family put a plea on social media to help search for Kenzie. Roughly 50 people responded and showed up to assist, some bringing equipment like thermal cameras.

4 Kenzie escaped from Cameron Cuevas’ mother’s home on Sunday. Cameron Kaitlynn Cuevas/Facebook

4 About 50 neighbors answered the Cuevas’ call to search for the monkey. Cameron Kaitlynn Cuevas/Facebook

Ben Ward, a local hunter, brought his tracking dogs.

“I loaded up and went out there,” said Ward. “There was a whole bunch of people there already searching. We joined in with them and brought the dogs to the woods. They are unbelievable. Their ability is amazing. Their nose, from what I’ve read, is 10,000 times better than a human’s.”

4 The Cuevas were reunited with their pet spider monkey, which they adopted 2 years ago. Cameron Kaitlynn Cuevas/Facebook

4 The Cuevas said that Kenzie is like one of their own children. Cameron Kaitlynn Cuevas/Facebook

The search was called off around 2 a.m. after 14 hours of looking for Kenzie without a trace.

Ward went back to the search scene at daybreak and soon called Cameron with the good news.

“‘We got her. She’s in your mom’s arms right now,” Cameron said Ward told him.

The pet monkey had wandered back to Cameron’s mother’s house after her excursion.

“She had a good bath, blow dry & is taking her a good nap,” Kaitlynn wrote in a Facebook post after Kenzie was found. “She will go to the vet here in a little while to get checked over.”

“She is tired, scared, weak but she’s home!” she added.

The couple thanked all of the volunteers who helped out.

“It took a team to bring her back home, and we are more than grateful for the team that showed up to bring her home,” Cameron told WCAX. “She ain’t going anywhere no more.”


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