Monkey Business Suspected in Zoo Mystery

Emperor tamarin monkey | Image by Dallas Zoo

An investigation is underway after two monkeys were discovered missing from the Dallas Zoo in what appeared to be a case of animal theft. 

On Monday morning, the “Dallas Zoo alerted the Dallas Police Department after the animal care team discovered two of our emperor tamarin monkeys were missing.”

“It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised,” the zoo claimed

“Based on the Dallas Police Department’s initial assessment, they have reason to believe the tamarins were taken,” the organization explained

Zoo officials also noted that typically, emperor tamarin monkeys are home-bodies, preferring to remain where they feel comfortable. However, “the Zoo searched near their habitat and across Zoo grounds, and did not locate them.” 

“This is an active Dallas Police Department investigation,” the zoo concluded. “This is all the information we are able to share at this time.” 

The zoo had been closed at the time of the discovery due to inclement weather

The disappearance and alleged theft of the monkeys represents the fourth suspicious incident reported at the zoo this month. 

On January 13, a clouded leopard named Nova escaped her enclosure through a breach in the exhibit, as reported by The Dallas Express. Similarly, the langur monkey exhibit was allegedly intentionally compromised as well. 

Shortly thereafter, an endangered vulture was discovered dead after suffering suspicious wounds. 

Dallas Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson explained that he had never encountered anything comparable in his decades of zoo industry experience. 

“If it’s related to anything that happened with the clouded leopard before, it’s definitely crossed some sort of barrier that goes from being about malicious and criminal intent to being dangerous, and we’re extremely concerned about it,” he said in a press conference attended by The Dallas Express.

“It was clear that this opening was not exhibit failure and it wasn’t keeper error,” Hudson said of the compromised leopard enclosure. 

Following the string of suspicious incidents, the zoo doubled overnight security, limited animals’ overnight outside access, and offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

However, such measures were seemingly insufficient in preventing the theft of the monkeys. Currently, no suspects have been identified nor any motive suggested, although recently nearly 40,000 mink were released by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), as reported by The Dallas Express.

However, animal rights experts do not think that the pattern seen in the Dallas Zoo incidents matches the tactics used by such activists.

Peter Young, an expert on Animal Liberation Front history and an animal activist who has been convicted for “animal enterprise terrorism,” explained to The Dallas Express that he did not think that ALF or a similar group was involved in the Dallas Zoo incidents.

“My first thought is a zoo would absolutely be considered a legitimate target of the ALF,” Young suggested. “Any institution or business that imprisons animals would be fair game as far as being a target for the ALF.”

“On the other hand,” he continued, “seeing how there have been animals who have been released but not given homes–the ALF’s concern first and foremost is going to be the welfare of the animals.”

“The ALF’s job is not done simply by getting it on the other side of the cage,” Young noted, referring to the incident of the leopard specifically. “The AlF’s job is not done until the animal has been placed into a home where it can live out the rest of its life.”

“A situation like this where animals are released not into their native habitat, with no concern for their wellbeing…would immediately eliminate this in my mind as a possible ALF action,” Young suggested. “A leopard cannot survive on the streets of Dallas. Primates cannot survive on the streets of Dallas.”

He also identified that typically ALF would publicly claim any actions in the days following an activity, which has not occurred in any of the Dallas Zoo incidents.

“So everything about what I’m seeing and what happened at the Dallas Zoo point to either an inside job, a prankster, an opportunistic vandal–something along those lines,” Young concluded.

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  1. Gordon Wright

    If the Zoo doesn’t have security cameras throughout the property they have to be the only measurable amount of land in the USA that isn’t under surveillance.

  2. Wanda

    Typical ghetto city. The city can’t even protect the animals under its care. Just close the zoo and be done with it.

    • Ummm.....yea right!

      What does “ghetto” have to do with it. Is that the ghetto? You’re labeling a situation that you don’t even know the final details about…..Tsk tsk!


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