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Friday, November 22, 2013

Banana Sam, Squirrel Monkey Stolen From S.F. Zoo, Dies

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Banana Sam, age 17
  • Banana Sam, age 17

Banana Sam, the Twitter-savvy squirrel monkey who made headlines two years ago when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo and later found, died yesterday. He was 19.

According to Abbie Tuller, spokeswoman for the Zoo, Banana Sam died after complications with heart disease. "Banana Sam was a beloved member of the San Francisco Zoo and he will be missed by staff, volunteers, and visitors," Tuller said in a statement.

Banana Sam was known as a staff favorite and a total "cutie" who became a local celebrity after he was snatched from the Zoo in December 2011. On the morning of Dec. 30, zookeepers arrived to find the the zoo's outside gate had been cut as well as the mesh fencing to the squirrel monkey cage. They were horrified when they saw Banana Sam was gone. They immediately issued a call for help and put up $5,000 for his safe return, noting that squirrel monkeys are high on the exotic pet trade list. The following day, a man spotted Banana Sam in Stern Grove about two miles away from the zoo. He managed to lure the little guy (he was 2 pounds!) into his backpack and carried him to back to the Zoo. It was a sad story with a happy ending -- something readers don't get to enjoy often. Afterward, kids, parents, hipsters, drunks, Republicans, and even the cold-hearted among us became instant fans of Banana Sam and his 24-hour adventure. He immediately turned to Twitter where he amassed 2,018 followers, giving his fans witty snippets of his short adventure outside the zoo. Here's some of our favorite tweets: Banana Sam arrived at the San Francisco Zoo four years ago with 20 other squirrel monkeys after funding for a local research program shut down. We're just glad he got to see a little bit of the world before he left it.
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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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