Vern the monkey, who was hurt protecting his son from an intruder, dies from his injuries

Vern

DODGE CITY, Kan. — A monkey that zookeepers think was hurt trying to protect his son during a suspected break-in died from his injuries.

Vern, the tufted capuchin monkey, was unresponsive when staff found him on Tuesday morning, Oct. 29 said officials with the Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City, Kansas.

“While the Zoo’s contracted veterinarian did everything they could to revive him, he passed away at the vet clinic,” officials wrote in a Facebook post.

Vern had surgery to repair broken bones in his leg after the Sept. 3 break-in.

Police said in a statement that they believe someone got in the monkey troop’s enclosure and took Pickett, a 2-year-old capuchin, who is Vern’s offspring.

Vern was very protective of Pickett “and would not have let him go without a fight,” head zookeeper Hannah Schroder said in a statement shortly after the incident.

Pickett was found unharmed just outside the city limits and was back in his enclosure, zoo officials said.

Authorities said that they don’t know who did it, or exactly how Vern was hurt.

Tufted capuchin monkeys are native to South America and spend most of their time in trees. Males grow to about 13 pounds in captivity and the oldest captive tufted capuchin lived to be 45-years-old, according to the New England Primate Conservatory.

The zoo said that Vern was recovering well in a post on Oct. 22, but said veterinarians decided to put a cast on his leg because he was picking at the surgery site.

The cause of death was unknown, but zoo officials planned to conduct a necropsy.

Vern and a female monkey named Charro have been at the Wright Park Zoo since 1988, officials said. The pair had at least four offspring together and lived with their youngest sons, Pickett and Jack.

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