Several squirrel monkeys stolen from Louisiana zoo: police

BROUSSARD, La. (KLFY) – Louisiana police are investigating after 12 squirrel monkeys were stolen from their habitat over the weekend.

Zoosiana, a 45-acre zoo park about 10 miles from Lafayette, was robbed shortly before midnight Saturday, officials said in a social media post. The suspect allegedly targeted facilities for small primates at Zoosiana and may have stolen 12 squirrel monkeys.

“The remaining squirrel monkeys have been carefully evaluated by Zoosiana’s veterinarian and animal care team, and there are no other apparent issues affecting their health or well-being,” officials said Monday. “All other animals are accounted for and appear undisturbed.”

Broussard Police Chief Vance Olivier told Nexstar’s KLFY that investigators are reviewing video footage to help capture the suspect(s).

It’s a one-time survey but it doesn’t change the protocol.

“In 13 years of law enforcement, we haven’t really investigated a flight of squirrel monkeys. We will continue to investigate this crime like any other crime that has taken place,” Chief Olivier said.

Zoosiana director Matt Oldenburg said the goal is to stay on track.

“We checked the remaining squirrel monkeys to make sure there was apparently nothing wrong outside of the situation that happened. We are working hard to rebuild their comfort,” Oldenburg told KLFY.

Squirrel monkeys require special care that the suspect or suspects who stole them may not be able to provide that care. Oldenburg added that when a squirrel monkey goes missing, those left behind are aware that something is out of place.

“If you hear anything, we really want to get these animals back to their natural habitat where they’ve been for some time,” Chief Oliver said, encouraging the community to report anything suspicious to authorities.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Broussard Police Crime Stoppers at 337-232-TIPS or Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries.

The theft comes as authorities in Dallas, Texas continue to investigate a series of bizarre incidents at the city’s zoo. On Monday, police said they believed someone had punched an opening in an enclosure and taken two emperor tamarin monkeys, small primates with long whisker-like whiskers.

The incident follows the zoo’s closure on January 13 and a day-long search when a clouded leopard named Nova went missing. On January 21, an endangered species vulture named Pin was found dead and the zoo said the death did not appear natural. Zoo president and CEO Gregg Hudson said the vulture had “an injury”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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