Emergency dispatchers are used to receiving all kinds of calls. Sometimes callers are frantic, sometimes they are distraught and other times they’re silent.
For dispatchers in San Luis Obispo County, one of those mysteriously quiet phone calls turned out to be quite innocent, albeit, extremely unexpected.
The story is a bit wild… you might even say it’s bananas.
Some time Saturday night, dispatchers received a 911 call from a cell phone in the Paso Robles area. The call disconnected and dispatchers tried to get in contact with the caller again. They sent text messages and called back, but no one answered.
Ultimately, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area where the call came from, just to make sure there was no funny business.
When they arrived at the address on file, which turned out to be Zoo to You, a wildlife sanctuary and conservation organization with a campus in Paso, they found that no one on staff had made any calls.
Puzzled, deputies and staff at the zoo began to develop a theory and eventually identified a suspect: a Capuchin monkey named Route.
Zoo staff believe that Route picked up a company cell phone which is normally kept on a golf cart that zoo staff use to travel around the 40-acre site. Capuchin monkeys, being naturally inquisitive and having fully dexterous hands, will often grab anything they can and just start pushing buttons. At least, that’s what staff told the deputies.
It’s not entirely clear if Route dialed the appropriate 9-1-1 needed to get to dispatch or if the monkey used the emergency call function that can be easily accessed by most locked smartphones — iPhone users can set their phones up to dial 911 by clicking the side button five times in rapid succession.
Regardless of how the call was made, sheriff’s deputies were happy to have an open-and-shut case and zoo staff were happy to have some visitors. Next time, though, the Sheriff’s Department recommends Route call the non-emergency number to set up a playdate.
Zoo to You is the name of the Conservation Ambassadors South Campus in Paso Robles. The nonprofit organization provides “permanent, loving home for displaced, abused, abandoned or permanently injured wild and exotic animals.”
For more information about Conservation Ambassadors, click here.