As noted yesterday, the theft of Banana-Sam, the SF Zoo’s tweeting squirrel monkey then reportedly recovered in Stern Grove on New Year’s Eve remains a mystery, with some expressing skepticism at the tale of his rescue.

17-year-old Banana-Sam was discovered missing Friday from an exhibit that had been breached by vandals, according to zoo officials. The vandals cut a perimeter gate overnight, climbed on top of a roof sheltering five primate exhibits and cut two holes into the mesh of the squirrel monkey exhibit.

He was found around 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. San Francisco police said a caller reported that he was walking in Stern Grove, which is about a mile from the Zoo, when he saw the monkey appear from the bushes. The caller said he was able to coax the monkey into his backpack, and then called authorities.

According to ABC7, however, zoo officials say something about the story rings false, and that a squirrel monkey would have to “be placed into a backpack forcibly.”

ABC7 reports that “when asked this weekend if the man who returned Banana-Sam is a person of interest in his theft, police said that investigation remains open so all options are open.”

SFPD has yet to release the name of the man who says he found Banana-Sam, nor have any details been announced on the $5,000 reward promised for Banana-Sam’s safe return.

Banana-Sam, however, is doing well — Assistant Curator of Primates Jill Andrews told ABC7 that “he’s healthy, alert, eating well, pooping well; he looks good.”

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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