Two of three extremely rare pygmy marmosets have been located after they were stolen from a wildlife park outside Sydney on Saturday.
The three Pygmy Marmoset monkeys including an adult male, a female juvenile and a four-week-old baby were stolen on Saturday morning from Symbio wildlife park. A phone tip-off led police to stop and search a vehicle in Appin on Sunday afternoon, finding the baby monkey alive. The female juvenile, 10-month-old Sofia, was found in Campbelltown on Sunday night.
A 26-year-old and a 23-year-old have been charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime and will appear in Campbelltown Local Court on Monday.
Symbio updated its Facebook followers on Monday morning, saying the recovered animals were in good spirits.
"Mum cradled the baby straight into her arms and bub immediately began to feed. Early observations this morning are promising, with two bright eyed twins observed on mums back - so a great result," Symbio wrote.
"Late last night police recovered a second Marmoset, 10 month old Sofia. Sofia was brought back to Symbio and remained in keeper care overnight, as it was too late in the night to introduce back to the family. Sofia was received in OK condition, hungry and understandably scared. Sofia was reunited with her family early this morning and we are giving the group privacy to re-bond after their ordeal."
There was significant concern for the infant who is at a particularly fragile age and can't be fed unless it was reunited with its mum. Police are appealing for information as they continue the search for the male adult, named Gomez.
Zookeeper John Radnidge told NewsCorp Australia the tiny animals will suffer in the hands of the thieves.
"It's just one of the most cruel and despicable acts to do this because they have no ability to care for these creatures," Radnidge is quoted as saying. "Time is of the essence here."
The pygmy marmoset, a native of rainforests in the Amazon Basin in South America, is known for being the smallest monkey in the world. The animals are about the size of a finger and weigh up to just 100 grams.
It's not the first time Symbio Wildlife Park has been targeted by wildlife bandits, according to Fairfax Media.
In 2010, four pygmy marmoset monkeys and four cotton top tamarins were abducted. Thankfully, all but one of the animals was recovered a few days later. Two Sydney teens were later arrested and charged over the theft.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that charges have been laid and a second pygmy marmoset has been captured.