Workers at a popular safari park are on edge after baboons were spotted wielding tools like knives, screwdrivers, and even a chainsaw. And to make matters worse, the primates are having a blast using the tools to terrorize visitors’ cars.
The baboons at Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, England, have long enjoyed the ignominious reputation of being extremely destructive mischief-makers who were previously infamous for nabbing objects from the cars of visitors, including side-view mirrors and windshield wipers.
One mechanic in nearby Sale said that he’s had two customers this year alone who needed work done after the monkeys went to town on their cars.
“The kids start chirping up saying they want monkeys all over the car, and the next thing you know, you’re driving home with no registration plate,” the mechanic said.
However, some local workers worry that the creatures are possibly being given the weapons and power-tools “for a laugh” by equally mischievous park-goers, reports the Sunday Times.
“We’re not sure if they are being given weapons by some of the guests who want to see them attack cars, or if they’re fishing them out of pick-up trucks and vans,” one worker said.
Given the primates’ history of thievery, it would make sense that the baboons themselves are taing it upon themselves to find goods hidden in toolboxes scattered across the 550-acre safari park.
“One of the baboons was seen lugging around a chainsaw,” the worker added.
However, given the frequency with which the baboons have been sighted walking about with knives or screwdrivers in-hand, suspicion has been raised about how they are suddenly so well-supplied to wreak havoc.
“The baboons have been found with knives and screwdrivers. I do wonder if it’s some of the guests handing them out,” a source told Daily Record.
The safari park, which hosts a range of individual creatures including rhinos, lions and tigers, reopened last month after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Aquariums and other zoos were also given the green light by the U.K. government to resume operations following the lockdown.
On the park’s website, potential visitors are assured that while proper public health measures are in place and people are restricted to their cars, a similar guarantee can’t be made about the problems caused by the baboobs.
“If you take a drive through our Baboon Jungle, we’re unable to return any car parts that our cheeky baboons may take,” the website noted, adding that a “car friendly route” is also an option.
Managers at the safari park are skeptical about whether the tales of knife-wielding baboons stalking park grounds is true, shrugging it off as an urban myth.
“We believe many of these stories have grown in exaggeration as they’ve been retold, with embellishment to make the objects that are sometimes found in the enclosure seem more exciting and unbelievable,” the park said.