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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo in fourth suspicious incident

File photo of an emperor tamarin monkeySteve Clancy Photography

Two monkeys have allegedly been taken from Dallas Zoo – adding to a series of suspicious events including the release of a leopard and a vulture’s death.

Police were alerted on Monday when keepers found the emperor tamarin monkeys missing.

Zoo staff believe they were taken because this breed would typically stay close to home – and the monkeys were not located in zoo grounds.

The zoo also said the enclosure had been “intentionally compromised”.

Police said they believed someone had cut an opening in the habitat and taken the two primates.

A string of suspicious incidents began at the zoo earlier this month when a young clouded leopard escaped from its exhibit through a cut-out hole. It was later found safely.

Workers also found deliberate cuts on an enclosure housing langur monkeys – though none got out.

Last week, an endangered vulture was found dead in its enclosure with an “unusual wound”. The bird was one of only 6,500 on the planet and its death was deemed “very suspicious”.

Zoo staff said losing the 35-year-old lappet-faced vulture called Pin was devastating, adding he would be “missed dearly by everyone”.

No arrests have been made in any of the investigations, and Dallas police have refused to say if the incidents are linked.

Since the unusual occurrences began, the zoo has added extra cameras and increased its security patrols at night.

Ed Hansen, chief executive of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, said it appeared that someone “really has an issue with the Dallas Zoo”, but that the zoo had an “excellent” reputation in the industry.

Emperor tamarin monkeys are distinctive for their long white whiskers that resemble moustaches. It is believed they were named after German emperor Wilhelm II, who also had a moustache.

The zoo sits on 106 acres (43 hectares), housing more than 2,000 animals, and is the oldest and largest zoo in Texas.

It made headlines in 2004 when a 300lb (136kg) gorilla escaped from its enclosure, injuring four people before being shot to death.

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