Knowsley Safari Park has served the antisocial baboon orders on the inhabitants of its monkey jungle whose mischievous behaviour has recently reached new heights.
The baboons have learned how to break into car rooftop luggage boxes, with a number of families having to watch helplessly as hairy hands grabbed their clothes and vanished up the park’s trees with them.
With the holiday season in full swing, bosses are advising all visitors with cargo boxes to use an alternative route around the outside of the baboon enclosure.
Safari Park general manager David Ross said: “When the first luggage box was broken into we didn’t really take an awful lot of notice — we just thought it was a one-off incident with a faulty box or lock.
“However, when the problem kept happening, it quickly became clear that the baboons had acquired an unfortunate new skill.
“Their technique involves the largest baboons jumping up and down on the box, flexing it until the lock bursts open, when the rest of the baboons pile in to see what they can find.
“Obviously, we’re well used to them helping themselves to the odd wing mirror or wiper blade, but this has taken things to a whole new level.
“Let’s face it, nobody wants to see a baboon running up a tree with their underwear.
“For this reason, we now issue a warning to all visitors with luggage boxes as a matter of course.
“Unfortunately though, we still get drivers who don’t think it will happen to them and they decide to take a chance. Although a few get through intact, others pay the price for ignoring our advice.
“That’s why we recently staged a demonstration to show the reality of the risks drivers face. The baboons were into the luggage box on our car within minutes and absolute mayhem ensued.
“We will now be able to show photographs of this incident to visitors with cargo boxes who may be thinking of playing Russian roulette in the monkey jungle.”
There are currently more than 140 baboons at Knowsley Safari Park and visitor surveys consistently show them to be the attraction’s most popular exhibit.