An imperial tamarin monkey that went missing from the Dallas Zoo earlier this week and was found by police Tuesday in an abandoned house is safe and unharmed, the zoo said.
“The emperor tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn, were very happy to snuggle up in their nest bag last night here at the zoo!” The zoo posted on Facebook. “Our veterinary and animal care teams said that in addition to losing weight, there were no signs of injury, and after completing their health checks on Tuesday evening, both started eating and drinking almost immediately.
The zoo said the monkeys will undergo a period of quarantine before being returned to their zoo habitat.
The zoo also noted that video released Tuesday from their surveillance cameras “appears to have been critical in providing the tip that led to the tamarins’ recovery.” Additionally, a $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible, the zoo said.
The health news comes two days after the zoo announced two tamarind monkeys were missing and that their habitat had been “deliberately disturbed”. Dallas police said they had reason to believe the monkeys had been taken, the zoo said.
The disappearance follows several suspicious incidents at the zoo over the past month involving a leopard, langur monkeys and a vulture, prompting increased security.
After a tip, the missing tamarin monkeys were found Tuesday in a closet in an abandoned house in Lancaster, about 15 miles from the zoo. Police released a photo one monkey in the closet, standing on what looks like a fence.
“We are extremely excited to share that two imperial tamarin monkeys have been found,” the Dallas Zoo said Tuesday evening. “They will be evaluated by our vets tonight.
Elsewhere, a Louisiana zoo reported the theft of 12 squirrel monkeys.
The Dallas Zoo learned Monday that a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys were missing from their enclosure, it said.
Dallas police concluded that the monkeys’ habitat was intentionally cut, and “the animals are believed to have been intentionally taken from the enclosure,” they said.
The zoo was closed Monday due to inclement weather, it was announced earlier, and the closure was extended through Wednesday due to the ice storm.
How the animals left the zoo and ended up in an abandoned house in Lancaster is still a mystery.
Police released surveillance video on Tuesday and a photo of an unidentified man they said they were looking and wanted an interview. Police did not say why they wanted to speak with him or when the footage was recorded, and asked the public to contact them at 214-671-4509 with any information.
Surveillance video shows the man slowly walking down the mostly empty zoo sidewalk, looking back and forth as he moves. Another person can be seen in the background walking in the opposite direction.
The the pictures show a man wearing a navy blue hoodie and a crimson beanie while eating a bag of Doritos.
Zoo officials said Wednesday that security is being tightened.
“While our security program has worked in the past, it has become clear that we need to make significant changes,” officials said in a written statement. “Words cannot express the disappointment our team feels.
The security upgrades include more cameras and more than doubling the number of security patrols, as well as increasing the number of people on night duty, installing more fences and adding other unspecified security technologies, according to a news release.
In recent weeks, there have been some other strange animal incidents at the Dallas Zoo.
The clouded leopard, named Nova, went missing on January 13 and the zoo was closed to search for the animal.
Police launched a criminal investigation after they found the fence around Nova’s enclosure had been “deliberately cut”, they said. Later that day, Nova was found near her home.
Meanwhile, zoo staff noticed a similar cut in the enclosure of some of the monkeys, but none escaped, the zoo said.
Police did not immediately determine if the two incidents were related.
The incidents prompted the zoo to beef up security, including installing more cameras and increasing night security and staffing, said Gregg Hudson, its president and CEO. He added that the animals’ ability to go outside during the night was also restricted.
Then on January 21 a vulture named Pin was found dead in his habitat. “The circumstances of the death are unusual and the death does not appear to be of natural causes,” the zoo said in a statement.
The bird’s death was “suspicious” and it suffered an “unusual wound and injuries,” Hudson said.
The zoo is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the vulture’s death.
While incidents at the Dallas Zoo and monkey thefts at Zoosiana in Broussard, Louisiana, have raised general concerns about security, at least one zoo in Florida is not stepping up security.
Zoo Miami “already has several security measures in place” and there’s only so much that can be done, said wildlife expert and Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill.
“If someone wants to get in and is determined,” he told CNN, “they’ll find a way.”