Two missing Dallas Zoo monkeys found: police

This undated image courtesy of the Dallas Zoo, shows an emperor tamarin monkey in its enclosure at the zoo in Texas. (Photo by HANDOUT / Dallas Zoo / AFP) 

HOUSTON, United States (AFP) — Two missing emperor tamarin monkeys turned up alive and well Tuesday, officials said, a day after disappearing from the Dallas Zoo in the latest of a string of bizarre incidents at the attraction.

Dallas police had said the two animals, reported missing Monday, may have been intentionally taken out of the zoo and issued a photo of a man in a hoodie who may be linked to the monkeys’ disappearance.

But all ended well, and on Tuesday evening, Dallas police tweeted that they had located the two monkeys in an abandoned home in the town of Lancaster, some 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of the zoo.

The police department posted a photo of a tamarin monkey with trademark white whiskers sitting on what looks like a portable fence leaning against a wall.

“Pictured is one of the animals still inside the closet of the house,” the Dallas police department said of the photo. “The monkeys have been returned to the zoo.”

This handout image published by the Dallas Police Dept. on their Twitter account on January 31, 2023, shows an emperor tamarin monkey that had gone missing from the Dallas Zoo, found inside the closet of an abandoned home in Lancaster, Texas.  (Photo by Handout / @DallasPD / AFP) 

The monkeys’ disappearance marked the second time that animals have vanished from the facility in recent weeks. The zoo closed on January 13 after keepers discovered a breach in the enclosure of a clouded leopard.

The missing big cat was eventually found near her habitat and had not left the zoo grounds.

A little more than a week later, the zoo reported that an endangered lappet-faced vulture was found dead from a wound, and said the “circumstances of the death are unusual.”

In the latest incident, the zoo said employees searched near the monkey habitat and across zoo grounds but did not find the emperor tamarins, which “would likely stay close to home.”

“Based on the Dallas Police Department’s initial assessment, they have reason to believe the tamarins were taken,” the zoo statement said.

After the vulture was found dead, the zoo — the oldest and largest in Texas — added extra cameras and increased overnight security patrols.

Emperor tamarins are small monkeys with long white whiskers that sweep back from their face, and are so named for their likeness to the late German emperor Wilhelm II. The monkeys are native to the southwest Amazon basin.

The incidents have raised alarms at zoos across the country, fearful of copycat crimes.

A Louisiana facility, Zoosiana, reported Monday that 12 squirrel monkeys were stolen from their habitat after intruders broke in over the weekend.

© Agence France-Presse