Monkey that crossed from Lebanon into Israel still at large

Israeli authorities are yet to catch the country's most unlikely intruder

Tachtouche, a vervet monkey kept by Sister Beatrice Mauger in south Lebanon before he escaped. Courtesy Sister Beatrice Mauger
Tachtouche, a vervet monkey kept by Sister Beatrice Mauger in south Lebanon before he escaped. Courtesy Sister Beatrice Mauger

Israel has yet to catch its most unlikely intruder from Lebanon – Tachtouche, the Kenyan vervet pet monkey.

Tachtouche lept from Israel into Lebanon last week, a trip neither Israelis nor Lebanese can make as the two countries are technically still at war.

The wandering monkey reportedly maneuvered through the heavily patrolled border that has been shut for nearly 20 years, earning respect and laughs from both usually tense sides.

Tachtouche, who has a history of breaking free from captivity, most recently lived with a French Nun in southern Lebanon at her farm called Ark for Peace, in reference to Noah's ark.

Unlike the animals in the biblical story, Tachtouche is still riding solo all around Israel.

Earlier this week, he was sighted in the Israeli villages of Zar’it, Shtula and Hurfeish, the latter being about 11 kilometres from his home.

Yesterday, he made his way to the village of Deir Al Assad in the Upper Galilee, which is 25 kilometres away from the Ark for Peace. Local residents tried set up a trap to lure him in to no avail, according to Israeli media.

Israeli police are assisting the Nature and Parks Authority to catch Tachtouche, who in turn has been putting on a show for the lucky residents who see him.

One person shared a video online of the monkey hanging in his shed, much to the chagrin of the videographer's dog and to no consequence at all to the sheep next to him. In another video, Tachtouche is seen traipsing around someone's balcony. "Who's is he," the resident behind the camera asks, before gasping as the monkey jumps off.

If and when he's captured, Israeli police say they will return him to Lebanon.

“I have faith in God and I believe that it’s not an accident that Tachtouche escaped," the nun, Sister Beatrice Mauger, told The National. " [God] is thumbing his nose at a border that divides us humans,”

Published: June 4, 2019 10:26 AM

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