Tupelo zoo to peddle T-shirts of escape artist monkey

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The sneaky capuchin monkey that escaped from the Tupelo zoo twice last month has inspired a T-shirt.

The Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo will start selling shirts with Oliver’s picture on the front and the phrase “Oliver’s Great Escape.” On the back, they’ll read “Run Oliver Run” and show a map of the monkey’s previous flight routes.

“We ordered 1,000 of them,” said Ann Stewart, gift shop manager at the zoo, which designed and commissioned the T-shirts.

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They’ll be on sale there and on the park’s Web site in about three weeks.

These T’s aren’t the first of their kind. At least one Tupelo man was seen wearing his own “Run Oliver Run” shirt last month. He apparently had made it himself.

As for the monkey, Oliver is doing fine, said park manager Kirk Nemecheck.

“There is nothing new with him, thank goodness,” said Nemecheck, who was involved in numerous chases this summer and who now has several locks on the capuchin’s cage.

Oliver made headlines with his weeklong escape at the end of July. He was captured and returned to the park, only to escape again — the second time, only for a day.

Stewart said the 9-year-old primate knows what the locks are and jerks on them from time to time, as though he’s trying to figure out a way to open them.

When he’s not studying the locks, Oliver receives visitors. Although park attendance has been slow lately, Stewart said everyone who does come wants to see the famous monkey whose earlier escapades made international news.

“We had a guy from Wyoming who came to Tupelo visit his mother and came to the park especially to see Oliver,” Stewart said. “He said, ‘I want to meet that monkey.’”

On the Net:

Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, http://www.tupelobuffalopark.com