Two monkeys were taken from the Dallas Zoo on Monday, police said, the latest in a string of odd incidents at the attraction being investigated – including fences being cut and the suspicious death of an endangered vulture in the past few weeks.
No arrests have been made in any of the investigations, and police have not said whether the incidents are linked.
Dallas police said they believe someone cut an opening in an enclosure and took two emperor tamarin monkeys, small primates with long whiskers that look like a mustache.
“It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised,” the zoo said in a statement that offered few other details.
The incident follows the Jan. 13 closure of the zoo and a daylong search when a clouded leopard named Nova went missing.
She was eventually found near her habitat, but police said a tool had been used to cut an opening in its fencing. A similar gash also was found in an enclosure of langur monkeys, though none got out.
On Jan. 21, an endangered vulture named Pin was found dead, and the zoo said the death did not appear to be natural. Zoo President and CEO Gregg Hudson said the vulture had “a wound.”
Ed Hansen, chief executive of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, said he could not recall a zoo facing similar incidents with such frequency.
“It appears that somebody really has an issue with the Dallas Zoo,” Hansen said.
Hansen, who described the Dallas Zoo’s reputation as “excellent” within the industry, said accredited zoos have double-perimeter fencing and that a zoo as large as Dallas’ would have a security patrol.
The zoo has said that it has added additional cameras and increased overnight security patrols.
The zoo said Monday that the two emperor tamarin monkeys that have gone missing would most likely stay near their habitat – but that a search of the zoo grounds failed to find them.
Animals have escaped enclosures from the Dallas Zoo before. Most notably, a 340-pound gorilla named Jabari jumped over a wall in 2004 and went on a 40-minute rampage that injured three people before police shot and killed the animal.