Soon after authorities issued a photo of a person interested in the strange case, the two monkeys taken from the Dallas Zoo were discovered alive inside an abandoned house on Tuesday. A day after the theft, the emperor tamarin monkeys were found in residence in Lancaster, Texas, not far from downtown Dallas, according to the zoo and Dallas police.
“We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found,” the Dallas Zoo said in a statement.
The zoo reported that the little, white-bearded monkeys were returned to their enclosure and that veterinarians would assess them. The agency posted a picture of a man they wanted to talk to about the animals earlier on Tuesday. The two monkeys had been missing since Monday morning when zoo staff noticed something was “deliberately compromised” with their habitat.
The primates wouldn’t have traveled far from their home, so investigators thought they were abducted. Employees combed the zoo grounds but were unable to locate the animals.
The Dallas Zoo’s previously missing monkeys were only the most bizarre and unnerving incident this month, leading staff members to suspect animal tampering. First, on January 13, a 4-year-old clouded leopard named Nova vanished from her enclosure, forcing the zoo to close down while personnel looked for the animal.
After being reported missing for several hours, the leopard was eventually located close to her habitat. According to the police, someone made a hole in her habitat’s fencing using a tool. Investigators found a similar gap in a langur monkey enclosure, but no monkeys managed to escape.
A week later, on Jan. 21, zoo employees discovered the decomposed body of Pin, an endangered vulture. According to the zoo, the vulture had “a wound,” and his demise was not considered an accident.
Two days later, according to the local CBS News station, Dallas Zoo President and CEO Gregg Hudson told reporters during a news conference, “This transcends from being about malevolent and gets into actual criminal intent that’s hazardous.” “I’ve worked in zoos for more than 30 years and never experienced anything like what occurred on Saturday. It’s unusual and quite unsettling.
There are just 27 lappet-faced vultures kept in captivity in the US, including Pin. According to the outlet, he had been a Dallas Zoo resident for 33 years and had fathered 11 children. After the vulture died, the zoo added more security cameras with night vision to the property and stepped up on-site security at night.
The person of interest in the photo, according to Dallas police, is wanted for questioning with emperor tamarin monkeys. It is unknown if the same man committed vandalism at the zoo in the past. It’s unknown if anyone was taken into custody when the monkeys were found.
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