Monkeys Are Now Being Stolen From Zoos

Two zoos in the South reported monkeys stolen within the same week, continuing a series of strange occurrences at area zoos.

By Mark McKee | Published


Black market primate sales, animal rights activists, or someone trying to make a short film about the 1995 Brad Pitt thriller 12 Monkeys, any of these scenarios are being explored by the Dallas Police today. According to The Byte, the zookeepers at the Dallas Zoo arrived on site to notice that emporer monkeys were stolen on Monday. And they weren’t the only ones, as the article also revealed that the animal care team at Zooisiana in Broussard, Louisiana discovered a dozen of their monkeys were missing, suspected of being stolen.

The Dallas Zoo reported the emperor monkeys missing on Monday to the Dallas Police Department, which is currently investigating. They also went on to say that from the appearance of the fence, the enclosure had been intentionally compromised, hinting that this wasn’t a monkey escape attempt but instead a deliberate removal of them from their enclosure. While the monkeys were eventually found hiding in a nearby closet, and no one has been charged with their theft, the Dallas Zoo isn’t the only animal care facility to see their monkeys stolen. 

A mere six hours away, Zooisiana in Broussard, Louisiana, reported that a dozen of their squirrel monkeys were missing, saying that the thieves clearly targeted facilities that housed smaller primates. The animal care teams looked after the remaining squirrel monkeys in that same enclosure to ensure they were still in good health. The team then asked for any information about the monkeys stolen to call the LA Department of Wildlife. 

Of course, since there is merely a six-hour drive between the two facilities, there is a lot of conversation about collaboration. Ed Hansen, the CEO of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, remarked that the coincidence is difficult to ignore and that it would take a strange mind to do something like stealing monkeys. He also revealed that without the proper care, these monkeys could get sick and die. 

An emperor monkey

The Dallas Zoo is also no stranger to suspicious behavior, as their case of stolen monkeys comes on the heels of two other strange incidents involving their animals. Earlier this month, a suspicious tear in its enclosure allowed a clouded leopard to escape. Then, only ten days later, the zoo announced that one of its endangered vultures died under suspicious circumstances. 

The Dallas Zoo is suffering from a long string of unusual circumstances that seem to point at sabotage, either from a disgruntled employee or someone who wants to free the animals. The Zooisiana incident seems to point more at an attempt to profit from the monkeys that were stolen. In any case, both facilities should be beefing up their security in an attempt to stave off any more incidents. 

According to the Born Free Foundation, monkeys in captivity are prone to developing stereotypical behaviors and overindulging in certain ones that can become harmful. These include repetitive neck-twisting, rocking, bar and wall-licking, over-grooming, self-mutilation, eating or playing with feces, vomiting, and regurgitation. From that perspective, it isn’t that farfetched that some do-gooder would coordinate these parallel instances of monkeys stolen.