Australia

Rare pygmy marmosets stolen from Australian wildlife park

The rare pygmy marmoset species is native to South America Image copyright Symbio Wildlife Park
Image caption The rare pygmy marmoset species is native to South America

Three rare pygmy marmosets have been stolen from a wildlife park in Australia.

The animals were reported missing from their enclosure at Symbio Wildlife Park, south of Sydney, on Saturday morning.

A baby marmoset and a female, Sophia, were found alive on Sunday, but a male, Gomez, remains missing.

Pygmy marmosets - the world's smallest monkey species - command up to A$5000 (£3000, $3700) on the black market.

Police said they found the four-week-old marmoset after pulling over a car containing two men at Appin, southwest of Sydney.

Two men, aged 23 and 26, were charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime but police are still hunting those directly responsible for the thefts.

The female marmoset was found about 20km (12 miles) away in the Campbelltown area.

It was feared the baby marmoset, which is yet to be named, would die within 48 hours if unable to feed from its mother.

John Radnidge, the owner of the wildlife park, said the monkey was getting some rest.

"It's very, very frightened but in reasonable condition," he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"You cannot keep a critically endangered species without being detected. If you have the world's smallest monkey in your home people are going to wonder where you got it."

China's Year of the Monkey is believed to have driven demand for the animal, which is native to South America.

Police have appealed for public help to find the third marmoset.

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