Pick-Pocketing Monkey Falling Out Of Tree Saved By Zookeeper's Coat (PICTURES)

A pick-pocketing primate was saved from death when a plan to sedate it with a tranquilliser dart went amiss in the city of Chengdu in the Sichuan province in the southwest of China.

The monkey living in a park in the centre of the city had been pestering visitors and stealing food, and had even mugged some children to steal their sweets.

Police eventually arranged for local zookeepers to come to the park, who identified the animal as a young male Tibetan macaque and decided to try and catch it by using sweets.

Near miss

When the monkey tried to grab the sweets they shot it with a dart gun but before the tranquilliser could take effect the scared monkey scampered back up to the top of the tree.

None of the zookeepers had a net but quick thinking Chi Ch'en took off his coat and arranged for the other monkey catchers to hold the sides of it to create a makeshift safety net.

He said: "He could see that the drug was working because the monkey started to sway in the tree as if he was drunk, and then he suddenly passed out and simply toppled through the branches. Fortunately he wasn't hurt by the fall and landed safely in the coat where he was put into a cage and taken to the zoo."