Beirut: The ‘runaway monkey’, Tachtouch, who escaped from a southern Lebanese village to northern Israel last month, was reunited with his owner, a French nun, after 17 days afar.
Tachtouch, as his owner Sister Beatrice Mauger, the French nun, named him, escaped from a farm in Al Qawzah village on May 21.
A few days later he was spotted jumping around porches, swinging on balconies and climbing trees and bushes in northern Israeli villages.
On Friday morning, Israelis handed over the runaway monkey, who had been recaptured, to UNIFIL officers to return him to his owner Sister Beatrice at Naqoura area.
“Yes, I’m of course very happy and very moved to get back Tachtouch. I see the symbolism behind this return,” she told Gulf News.
According to Sister Beatrice a woman called Noura tracked the monkey for five days before being able to catch Tachtouch.
“Noura, who is in charge of the center of the sanctuary of monkeys and wild animals in the north of Palestine/Israel, said on Friday morning while handing the monkey over to the French liaison officer Colonel Passau, ‘we’re doing this as a gesture of peace’,” the French nun told Gulf News.
Tachtouch went missing from the farm called ‘Ship of Peace’, an interfaith project on land belonging to the Maronite Church in Bint Jbeil area.
Several videos and photos of Tachtouch went viral across different social media platforms and images of the monkey were shared by alarmed villagers.
“Tachtouch’s return confirms to me that his mission was to be a messenger of peace,” she said.
-Bassam is a freelance journalist based in Beirut