Jan 31, 2023 - News

Missing monkeys latest in a string of strange events at Dallas Zoo

An emperor tamarin monkey, looking adorable

One of the emperor tamarins at the Dallas Zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Dallas Zoo

Two emperor tamarin monkeys that had gone missing from the Dallas Zoo earlier this week were found Tuesday in the closet of an empty home in Lancaster, a suburb south of Dallas, according to a Dallas Police spokesperson.

The latest: Dallas Police say they received a tip that the monkeys may be at an abandoned home in Lancaster.

  • Authorities are still asking for the public's help in identifying an individual in surveillance video.
  • The person can be seen walking slowly down a nearly empty zoo pathway, looking around as he moves.
  • "It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised," a zoo spokesperson tells Axios.

The big picture: This is the latest in a string of strange incidents at the zoo over the last month.

  • Two weeks ago, Nova, a clouded leopard, escaped the leopard enclosure through a cut in the mesh. Police have opened a criminal investigation, assisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying the cut was "intentional."
  • The zoo found a similar cut at the langur monkeys' enclosure — though none of the monkeys left the exhibit.
  • Last week, Pin, an endangered lappet-faced vulture, was found dead with what police called "an unusual wound."

Zoom in: Emperor tamarin monkeys would likely stay close to home if they left on their own, according to the zoo. Employees searched near their habitat and across the zoo's 110-acre property but didn't locate them.

  • Emperor tamarins are native to the southwest Amazon basin and not used to these temperatures.

Of note: The zoo has increased security efforts, including doubling the number of overnight security guards and adding cameras borrowed from Dallas police.

Flashback: Other zoos have experienced thefts recently, too.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found.


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