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The Dallas Zoo Suspects Two Emperor Tamarin Monkeys Have Been Abducted

The Dallas Zoo reports the third in what has become a series of incidents involving its animals. This time, the zoo suspects two emperor tamarin monkeys have been taken.
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Two emperor tamarin monkeys have been abducted from the Dallas Zoo, officials said January 30. Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo says it is missing two emperor tamarin monkeys and has reason to believe the primates have been abducted. The news comes days after the suspicious death of a lappet-faced vulture and about two weeks after a clouded leopard escaped after someone cut through its enclosure.

A statement from the zoo says its animal care team discovered the two monkeys missing Monday morning, and that “it was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised.” The Dallas Police Department is investigating. The zoo was closed to the public on Monday.

Zoo officials say that emperor tamarins tend to stay close to home. Employees have searched near their habitat and across zoo grounds but did not locate them.

“Based on the Dallas Police Department’s initial assessment, they have reason to believe the tamarins were taken,” the statement says, adding that it has no further information at this time.

Nova, a clouded leopard, escaped from her enclosure on January 13. At the time, zoo officials and police said it appeared that the clouded leopard habitat had been deliberately cut. A nearby habitat housing the zoo’s langur monkeys had also been intentionally cut, but they stayed put.

“It was clear that this opening was not a habitat failure, it was not an exhibit failure, and it wasn’t keeper error,” Dallas Zoo president Gregg Hudson said that day.

On January 23, the zoo reported that one of its lappet-faced vultures, Pin, had been found dead in his enclosure. While there were no signs of tampering with the habitat, zoo officials said Pin had “a wound” that was suspicious and did not appear to have occurred naturally. The Dallas Zoo is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest regarding the death of the bird, and anyone with information is asked to call 214-670-7694.

The tamarin monkeys are not endangered, but their natural habitat of the southwest Amazon basin is threatened by destruction and the primates are targeted by poachers, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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