“My young son’s Baby Monkey is lost!” read the frantic note sent to Sleeping Bear Marathon organizer Tricia Davies. The email, along with the picture below, was sent by Jessica Scudder who participated in the event with her family.
This is the last known image of Baby Monkey before he went missing during Sleeping Bear Marathon on October 5th.
Mrs. Scudder explained where she thought her son Beck’s precious Baby Monkey went missing and asked if there was any way to check if it had been turned in. Ms Davies hadn’t heard anything and she knew that locating Baby Monkey, now over a week after the event, would not be likely.
Nonetheless, on October 14th, when she wrote a thank you note to Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Chair, Kerry Kelly, for the help of our volunteers, she added, “I have a huge ‘long shot’ question for you…” and she went on to explain what she learned about Baby Monkey and where he was “last seen”.
Without hesitation, Kerry put the call out to all the Friends trail volunteers to be on the lookout for the lost monkey, even sharing the picture to help with identification! Word quickly spread and there were even special search efforts undertaken, but unfortunately, there was no sign of Baby Monkey.
Then, in early November, while Friends volunteer Laurie Pope was strolling through the Park, she looked up and much to her surprise, she saw Baby Monkey hanging from a sign! Amazingly, Laurie found him about two miles from where he was reported lost!
According to Laurie, “One paw was raised high as if to say “Here I am!”. And he was in really good shape for being lost in the woods for so long. He was dry and clean, as if he had found shelter somewhere. Maybe a hollow log or a rabbits’ hole? Anyways it looks like he was able to avoid the larger wildlife in the Park!”
Friends volunteer Laurie Pope and Park Rangers Andrew VanOHeren and Katelyn McDonald-Phillips pose with Baby Monkey after he was found.
She continued with the story, “We contacted Tricia about the find, and she gave us the address of Baby Monkey’s family. We contacted them about the rescue and let them know Baby Monkey would soon be on his way home!’
“We decided to include a rescue ranger doll and a short rescue summary note to accompany the baby monkey home safely from his big adventure. Also included in the box was a framed photo of the rescue team, a “Junior Ranger” work booklet, rack card maps of the Heritage Trail with location of the find, along with Heritage Trail and Friend’s stickers.”
Baby Monkey on his way back home with some company.
Baby Monkey’s homecoming was quite the reunion! He got lots of hugs from his pal, Beck and Mrs. Scudder sent a heartfelt thank you note to the Friends which was most appreciated.
After surviving a month in the wild, Baby Monkey is smiling extra big now that he’s back with his pal Beck — who’s pretty happy as well!
“That’s Northern Michigan people for you!”
After a quick review of Park history, it’s been concluded this was the one-and-only monkey search and rescue ever recorded within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — we’re just happy it was successful!