Police Looking for Answers in Monkey Death

Reported by: Phil Campbell
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Updated: 11/19/2012 8:38 pm

An alarming story from Boise is grabbing the attention of many today. Boise Police say two men accused of breaking into Zoo Boise and killing a monkey are still at large.

Zoos everywhere are reacting to the unthinkable. Police say at about 4-30 Saturday morning, a security guard spotted two men, one outside the zoo's perimeter fence, one just inside. They ran, and police couldn't find them. But, near the primate exhibit where the suspects were spotted, they found one of the Zoo's monkeys, with a serious head injury. A vet was called immediately, but the monkey died.

Beth Rich of the Tautphaus Park Zoo has worked with these types of monkeys in the past and says the perpetrator would have had a huge size advantage.

“A patas monkey is a long legged terrestrial on the ground monkey from Africa,” said Beth Rich, Superintendent of the Tautphaus Park Zoo. “They are about 35 pounds, females a little bit smaller and they’re terrestrial, they will usually walk around down on the ground if threatened by a predator, they will climb up a tree. They’re usually kind of golden or yellow in color and very pretty. You don’t see them often in zoos. I worked with them at another institution and I kind of miss them, they were fun.”

The Pocatello Zoo has a large fence that runs along its perimeter. They also have surveillance equipment. Similar safety measures are also in place at the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls.

“Our precautions for our animal security are numerous,” continued Rich. “We do have security cameras at strategic locations around the perimeter of the zoo. All of the primates, the monkeys and the large carnivores are secured in a locked building at night, in a locked enclosure. So to actually get into something, either a primate or a large carnivore, someone would have to go through several layers of security.”

Steve Burns, Executive Director of Zoo Boise, says those who work at the zoo, and care for these animals every day, are crushed.

"My heart goes out to all the staff and volunteers. They do a great job of taking care of our animals, and when I told them that this happened this morning, they were devastated."

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