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2 swamp monkeys leave habitat at Saint Louis Zoo after door is left unlocked

A zoo spokesperson said the door was left unlocked during a routine cleaning of the enclosure.

ST. LOUIS — The Saint Louis Zoo reported a "minor incident" that occurred Saturday morning when two swamp monkeys left their enclosure.

Billy Brennan, director of public relations for the zoo, said the monkeys escaped for a short period of time Saturday morning after their habitat was left unlocked. Brennan said the door was left unlocked during a routine cleaning of the enclosure.

Brennan said the monkeys were contained to a zookeeper hallway and never made it to an area open to the public.

The Primate House was temporarily closed to the public while employees worked to get the monkeys back into their enclosures.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we are pleased with the quick response and that all animals and staff are safe," Brennan said in an email. "In addition, the Animal Care team will review safety and cleaning protocols."

According to the zoo's website, swamp monkeys are native to central Africa. The website also says they are "quite curious and are often seen manipulating objects."

The incident comes a few weeks after Ben, an Andean bear, escaped from his enclosure in the Rivers Edge area of the zoo for a second time.

Zoo director Michael Macek told 5 On Your Side after Ben's first escape, they added stainless steel clips to secure his enclosure, but he still tore through them.

"The habitat we've had since 2016, we have not had a bear escape from that habitat ever," he said. "He's just very curious."

After Ben's first escape and this escape, the zoo said it would inspect the habitat and discuss ways to keep them secure.

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