Updated Feb 2, 2023 - News

Denver Zoo told to be on "alert" after Dallas disappearances

A gibbon perches on a rope at the Denver Zoo in 2018. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The monkey business afoot at the Dallas Zoo is causing zookeepers across the country, including in Denver, to be extra vigilant when it comes to the safety of their animals.

Driving the news: Two emperor tamarin monkeys were allegedly stolen from the Dallas Zoo earlier this week and found in the closet of an abandoned home. It's the latest in a string of strange incidents at the zoo over the last month, Axios Dallas' Michael Mooney writes.

  • The Association of Zoos and Aquariums issued a statement Tuesday urging its members — including the Denver Zoo — to "be extra cautious and alert" until the Dallas culprit is caught.

What they're saying: "Unfortunately, as the events in Dallas show, motivated individuals can and do find ways to breach those security measures," association spokesperson Rob Vernon tells Axios Denver. "We will learn from these unfortunate incidents, and our members will be better prepared as a result."

By the numbers: The Denver Zoo is home to 3,000 animals representing 450 different species, spokesperson Jake Kubie tells us.

  • Roughly a third of them are classified as endangered, critically endangered or extinct in the wild.

Threat level: Although some Denver Zoo creatures have managed to make a run for it in the past, none have knowingly ever been poached from their habitats, Vernon says.

  • The recent incidents involving the escape, death and apparent theft of animals at the Dallas Zoo are also rare nationwide, Vernon adds.

State of play: The Denver Zoo declined to comment on its safety protocols and whether it was ramping up security.

  • However, every association-accredited facility must follow certain standards that call for keeping animals and guests safe, including protocols like properly securing habitats.

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