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Despite day-long monkey hunt, no sign of simians at Cincinnati cemetery

capuchin monkey primarily primates
Posted at 7:57 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 18:44:44-04

CINCINNATI — It might sound bananas, but you read that right.

The Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Animal Care all devoted part of their Thursday to — fruitlessly — investigating rumors of monkeys on the loose near St. Joseph's Cemetery in East Price Hill.

A video of dark figures climbing a tree made the rounds on social media throughout the day, but the recording is too grainy to identify the animals, and no actual cemetery simians had surfaced by Thursday night.

Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society president Stephen Bitner said a group of wild turkeys lives on the grounds of the cemetery and sometimes nests in trees, providing one possible explanation for the claim.

Bitner also said the viral rumors of the West Side monkeys attracted hundreds of urban safaris to the cemetery Thursday morning.

"We've probably had an excess of 300 cars coming to visit," he said.

Wendy Gartrell was in one of them. She was driving by on her way home from a COVID-19 vaccine appointment when she spotted other people searching in the cemetery.

"I'm like, 'Okay if I get to sight a monkey, let me see it,'" she said. "Five of them seems kind of outrageous, but I'm from Price Hill. I don't live there anymore. Anything is possible in Price Hill."