A dozen monkeys have been stolen in a Louisiana zoo burglary — the latest in a string of multi-state pet thefts.
The primates were removed from their enclosure at Zoosiana on Saturday, staff at Broussard Zoo said in a statement, adding that the incident happened just before midnight.
A total of 12 squirrel monkeys were captured, the zoo said – with officials claiming an unidentified perpetrator also targeted other small monkeys during the break-in before taking just the aforementioned animals.
Officers have yet to make an arrest in the case, which serves to add to another mystery currently unfolding six hours’ drive away in Dallas, where a series of similar incidents, including the theft of two tamarin monkeys, have been reported by both local and state investigators left clueless.
Recently released photos and video of a former employee wanted in connection with the incidents, the Dallas Zoo increased its reward to $25,000 for information about the burglaries, as police said they are working to determine if the incidents, that all happened within weeks of each other, are related.
A dozen monkeys have been stolen in a Louisiana zoo burglary — the latest in a string of multi-state pet thefts
Officers have yet to make an arrest in the case, which serves to add to another mystery currently unfolding 400 miles away in Dallas, where a series of similar incidents have left both local and state investigators baffled
Zoosiana, which is a 6-hour drive from Dallas, made its first statement about its break-in on Monday, revealing on Facebook that “the facility was broken into just before midnight on Saturday, January 28.”
It continued: “The individual targeted facilities of smaller primates and particularly endangered the squirrel monkey exhibit. Unfortunately, the individual managed to steal 12 squirrel monkeys.
“The remaining squirrel monkeys have been carefully examined by both the Zoosiana vet and animal care team and there are no other obvious issues affecting their health or well-being,” she added
“All other animals are detectable and appear to have been undisturbed.”
Zoo officials didn’t say how many squirrel monkeys were originally in the enclosure, but said they are working with local, state and federal agencies to try to locate the missing monkeys.
Meanwhile, Dallas authorities have had their hands full with a separate investigation into a series of incidents that have occurred over the past few weeks in which several animals have been snatched, manipulated and even killed.
The first of the bizarre incidents occurred on January 13, when a clouded leopard named Nova suddenly disappeared from its enclosure.
The event sparked a days-long search for the 25-pound cat, which was finally tracked down by police hours later right next to the zoo property. It was then safely returned to its enclosure
The tiny primates – known for their expressive faces and inquisitive personalities – were removed from their enclosure at Zoosiana on Saturday, staff at Broussard Zoo said on Monday
The zoo was forced to close during the search for the carnivorous cat, and resumed normal operations the next day – until it was discovered that a second habitat – one housing a breed of monkey known as langurs – had also been cut.
Fortunately, the hole was discovered before any of the animals could escape.
A later police report claimed the incidents were both the result of “criminal mischief” which prompted zoo staff to implement a number of additional security measures, including the installation of additional cameras and increased night security patrols.
A week later, a 35-year-old endangered vulture was found dead in its habitat, prompting the zoo to contact the local police department again, this time asking for help with its own investigation – which found the cause of the vulture’s death Geiers was from a wound.
Dallas authorities have had their hands full with a separate investigation after a series of incidents in recent weeks that have seen several animals snatched, manipulated and even killed
The first of the bizarre incidents occurred on January 13 when a clouded leopard named Nova (pictured) suddenly disappeared from its enclosure. The cat was found safely hours later
Operations at the zoo would return to normal the next day, until zoo officials discovered that a second habitat — one harboring a breed of monkey known as langurs — had been similarly cut into
It was soon realized that the vulture’s death was likely the result of foul play, and officials deemed it “suspicious”.
Two days later, the zoo appeared to be targeted again when two emperor monkeys disappeared from their own enclosure, which had also been cut into.
Both monkeys were found unharmed in an abandoned house south of Lancaster Zoo on Tuesday, a day after they went missing.
On January 21, a 35-year-old endangered vulture named Pin was found dead, with the zoo issuing a statement saying his death did not appear to be “natural”.
Two days later, the zoo appeared to be targeted again when two emperor monkeys disappeared from their own enclosure, which had also been cut into. They were found in an abandoned house on Tuesday. One of the monkeys is pictured here in the house
Dallas Police said they found the monkeys after receiving a tip from an anonymous resident and that the animals were found safely in a closet and then returned to the zoo for veterinary evaluation.
Later that day, zoo officials released a photo of an as yet unnamed man who investigators want to speak to about the animals, who used to work at the facility for security.
The photo shows a boy walking through the zoo eating a bag of Doritos, whom they want to identify and talk to about the incident. Dallas PD told the man was not named as a suspect or a person of interest.
Dallas police are searching for this man who is believed to have been in the area when two monkeys were stolen from the zoo on Sunday
In a statement last week, zoo officials reiterated that they would continue to do their best to protect their animals in the face of the spate of incidents.
Ed Hansen, executive director of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, said he couldn’t remember a zoo that has faced similar incidents so frequently.
“Apparently someone really has a problem with the Dallas Zoo,” Hansen said.
Hansen, who described the Dallas Zoo’s reputation within the industry as “excellent,” said accredited zoos have double fencing and that a zoo as large as Dallas would have a security patrol.
But animals have escaped from exhibits at the Dallas Zoo before.
Zoo officials declined to provide further details about the vulture’s death and have declined to do so until the police proceed further with their investigation. Cops are pictured last month at the zoo, which is just a six-hour drive from Broussard
Most notably, in 2004, a 340-pound gorilla named Jabari jumped over a wall and went on a 40-minute rampage, injuring three people, before police shot and killed the animal.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s identity or whereabouts is asked to call (214) 671-4509.