Dallas Zoo offering $25K reward for information that leads to arrest of those tampering with animal enclosures

Emperor Tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn
Emperor Tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn(DALLAS ZOO)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 1:28 PM CST
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DALLAS, Texas (KWTX) - The Dallas Zoo announced on Facebook it is increasing its reward to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for tampering with animal enclosures.

Earlier this week, two Emperor Tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn, were stolen from the zoo. The monkeys were later found inside a closet in a residence in Lancaster, Texas. No arrests were announced by police or the zoo at the time the animals were recovered.

“We cannot thank the Dallas Police Department enough for their quick response and assistance in locating the tamarins,” the zoo wrote, “We are pleased that video from our surveillance cameras – which we shared with Dallas PD – seems to have been critical in generating a tip that led to the recovery of the tamarins.”

Bella and Finn at the Dallas Zoo
Bella and Finn at the Dallas Zoo(Dallas Zoo)

The zoo said Bella and Finn are back in their nest sack and in the care of its veterinary and animal care teams. “Beyond losing a bit of weight, they show no signs of injury and both started eating and drinking almost immediately once the team completed health exams,” the zoo said.

“They will not return to the habitat in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo for a little while still - because they were taken off-grounds, they will need to clear a quarantine period before they are reintroduced to their Zoo habitat.”

The Dallas Police Department is asking the public for help identifying a person of interest in the case. The department said it “wants to speak” with a man seen wearing in a photo wearing a blue hoodie, black pants, and a Tommy Hilfiger beanie.

The incident involving the monkeys follows the Jan. 13 closure of the zoo and a daylong search when a clouded leopard named Nova went missing.

Nova 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.

A leopard named Nova escaped after someone tampered with her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo. ...
A leopard named Nova escaped after someone tampered with her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo. Days later, a vulture named Pin was killed at the zoo.(DALLAS ZOO)

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.”

“Pin was a remarkable boy and an extraordinary ambassador for his species at the Dallas Zoo for 33 years. During this time, he sired 11 offspring and even had his first ‘grandkid’ in early 2020,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. “Losing him is devastating not only to our Zoo family but also to the conservation efforts of this species.”

According to the zoo, there are only about 6,500 individuals of lappet-faced vultures left on Earth. The birds are now listed as endangered by the IUCN with a chance of moving to critically endangered. “These beautiful birds are at serious risk of disappearing forever,” the zoo said.

Police have yet to make an arrest in any of the investigations, and have not said whether the incidents are linked.