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After a Dizzying search, a missing monkey returns home

Dizzy, left, and his mate, Mitzy.
Dizzy, left, and his mate, Mitzy.Meghan Rothschild

After three days of monkeying around, Dizzy came back home Thursday night.

The 12-pound monkey, who had escaped from his enclosure at the Zoo in Forest Park in Springfield earlier this week, was found and brought back, officials said.

“We would like to thank Forest Park Zoo staff, Springfield police, and all those involved in helping us return Dizzy safely to his home!” zoo officials said in a statement posted on Facebook just before 6 p.m.

They added that the zoo would be reopening Friday at 10 a.m. and urged followers to “Come welcome Dizzy home from his big adventure!”

After Springfield zookeepers spent days looking to the trees, Dizzy was spotted at ground level on zoo property at about 5 p.m. Thursday, said Meghan Rothschild, a member of the board of directors for the Zoo in Forest Park.

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Dizzy “got a little spooked,” according to Rothschild, and officials were able to tranquilize him before he darted back up the tree.

Rothschild added it took about 20 minutes for the tranquilizer to kick in, and when Dizzy fell, zookeepers “were able to be right there and had blankets and everything ready.”

She said that while the 8-year-old monkey was a little “woozy” from the tranquilizer, he was resting comfortably inside his enclosure Thursday night.

On Tuesday, Dizzy made use of his opposable thumbs to turn the doorknob of his enclosure and let himself out, a daring escape that had never occurred at the zoo.

The Guenon monkey, who has lived at the zoo for two years, managed to slip out after an employee who was cleaning Dizzy’s cage had left the area to assist a visitor and forgot to lock the door.

Dizzy had last been seen on Wednesday, in and around the zoo, as animal experts and city officials tried desperately to subdue the small primate with tranquilizer darts and lure him back to his cage with the promise of food and time with his mate, Mitzy.

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Just three hours before announcing the news of Dizzy’s return, Springfield zookeepers had no confirmed spotting of the monkey and said in a statement posted on Facebook, “We feel that he is high up in the canopy of trees, relaxing and resting.”

Officials kept the public informed of their progress with their search on Facebook, even at one point asking for help locating Dizzy.

The Zoo in Forest Park’s Facebook announcement of Dizzy’s return received many comments of relief.

“Great job to everyone that worked so hard to get Dizzy home!” Hilda Bailey commented.

Michelle Gonz wrote on the post, “Someone should write a children’s book about it and sell it at the zoo. ‘Dizzy adventure.’ ”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Lauren Fox can be reached at lauren.fox@ globe.com.