The playful baboon Luka has been rescued and returned to Macedonia's largest zoo after he was snatched by captors.

Police say the 18-month-old crowd favorite was abducted Monday from Skopje Zoo by captors who cut nets at a zoo enclosure and drove him by taxi to Kavadarci, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the Macedonian capital.

Authorities said Tuesday the ginger-haired animal was found four hours later after witnesses had alerted police. They said two people have been arrested and charged with burglary-related offences. They did not comment on local media reports that said one of the suspects was a 26-year-old woman who had abducted the animal to please her young daughter.

Abandoned by her mother after birth, Luka has become a favorite for children visiting the zoo.