The Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California is asking the public for help after an alleged birdnapper stole two threatened species from its aviary early Sunday morning.
Security footage shows a person appearing to cut the locks of the Australian Asian Aviary around 4:30 a.m., capturing two birds — a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo and a Nicobar pigeon — and escaping with them in a duffel bag.
Both birds are long-term residents of the zoo and of advanced age, according to Brandy Gamoning, the zoo’s marketing director.
“Our bird zookeepers and entire team are deeply concerned for the safety of both of these animals,” General Curator Lyn Meyers said in a statement.
Zoo officials reported the crime to the Fresno Police Department. Local veterinarians and exotic pet stores have also been notified of the theft, “so that they are aware that these beloved animals are missing from the zoo,” CEO Scott Barton said.
Nicobar pigeons are listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, while lesser sulphur-crested cockatoos are listed as critically endangered.
Both species are legal to own as part of the pet trade, Gamoning said.
Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Safety and Security manager at 559-470-6872.
This is the second California zoo theft in six weeks. A 21-year-old ring-tailed lemur named Maki was found safely in October, one day after being reported stolen from the San Francisco Zoo.