Kenya was left without power for more than three hours Tuesday—not because of a fierce storm or technical glitch, but because of a monkey.
Despite an electrical fence at the Gitaru Power Station, there to keep wild animals away, a vervet monkey was able to climb onto the roof of the hydroelectric plant. The monkey then either jumped or fell onto a transformer, which tripped (a circuit opened and stopped the conduction of electricity) and caused a chain of trips that led to the nationwide blackout. The power outage even knocked out internet service and disrupted several business operations, the BBC reports.
The Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen), which runs the plant, called the incident isolated and said its facilities “are secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals.” Despite its dramatic ordeal, the monkey survived and was taken into custody by the Kenya Wildlife Service. As The New York Times reports, this species of monkey is known for its curiosity and troublemaking:
Vervet monkeys, which are usually about two feet long, not including the tail, can be pesky creatures. They can be seen everywhere in Kenya, and they often travel in packs, scampering along power lines, snacking on mangos in backyards and even sneaking into kitchens through open windows to pinch a banana or two.
Power outages as a result of furry creatures is quite commonplace around the world, including in the United States. The May outage that knocked out power for 40,000 people in Seattle was caused by a raccoon getting into an electrical substation. Another raccoon caused a power outage later that month in Colorado Springs, affecting 5,600 people for nearly an hour.