2009-05-28 / Community

Two boys spot monkey in Calabasas backyard

By Joann Groff joann@theacorn.com

Two 10-year-old boys were snacking on Chinese food earlier this month when they spotted an unusual animal—a lemur.

Noah Helfend and Aaron Berdan, both students at Bay Laurel Elementary School, were having a picnic lunch in Aaron's backyard when Noah heard noises.

"I kept hearing the trees rustling, and I kept looking around," Noah said. "I thought it was a bird or a squirrel or something. But then a giant monkey jumped out of the tree and started running."

The two boys said they couldn't believe what they saw.

"Noah was yelling, 'Oh my gosh, it's a lemur!'" Aaron said. "I was in shock. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was amazing."

The boys describe the animal as about 3 feet tall with a footlong tail.

"It was giant," Noah confirmed. "I thought it was a squirrel at first but then he looked right at us. He was orange and had black on his tail. He had a lemur face and giant yellow eyes."

The animal jumped from the tree and started running up walls and leaping high, Noah said.

After the sighting, Aaron's father called the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, but nobody there hadn't heard anything about a lost lemur.

Noah thinks the animal is someone's pet or it escaped from a zoo. Aaron thinks maybe it ran off a television show or movie set.

"It's just the cutest story," said Ivette Helfend, Noah's mother. "He was so excited telling me. That stuff just doesn't happen in Calabasas."

Aaron and his family live near Calabasas Lake.

"We weren't very scared of it," Noah said about the giant. "We just didn't want it to die out here."

The boys haven't seen their primate friend since, but they did discover what looks to be his bed—a nestlike pile of leaves in some nearby bushes.

The Berdans tried to lure the lemur back with food so they could get a picture for Animal Care officials. So far, no luck.

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