Tuesday, July 11, 2006; C12

Oops Was on the Loose

· A runaway monkey loose in the woods around Roanoke, Virginia, was finally captured Sunday about a mile from the zoo she escaped from a week earlier.

The aptly named Oops slipped through an unlocked door July 2 during cage-cleaning time at Mill Mountain Zoo. The 20-pound, 11-year-old Japanese macaque, the youngest of the zoo's four so-called snow monkeys, spent a week on her own as worried zookeepers searched for her.

On Sunday afternoon, Libby Martin saw something unusual staring at her from a tree in her back yard. Zoo officials rushed to the scene.

"When I went out into the yard and called, 'Oops!' and she dropped out of that tree, I just couldn't believe that there she was," the zoo's Michaela Pace-Wilson said.

But the adventure wasn't over. Oops scurried into the woods and found another tree to climb. The zoo's vet, using a fire ladder truck, got close enough to shoot Oops with a tranquilizer, but she pulled the dart out. As people waited underneath to catch her, Oops fell asleep on a limb, so rescuers went up and got her.

After a month in quarantine to make sure she's disease-free, Oops will be reunited with her family.

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