Monkey Thefts

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: In the aftermath of man-made bio-terror generated pandemic, the government and media may attempt to scapegoat monkeys just as they did in the 1994 book The Hot Zone and the 1995 blockbuster movie entitled Outbreak. Since 9/11, there have been unprecedented reports of monkey attacks, monkey escapes, monkey thefts and monkey smuggling which may suggest that the monkey scapegoat option is being primed for prime-time.

Title: Search Begins For Stolen Monkeys
August 11, 2004

Abstract: Police are investigating the theft of 15 monkeys from the back garden of an Argyll cottage.

The animals were taken from Oban Zoological World, which was created by animal lovers at their home in the town of Oban.

The theft follows Gordon and Anne Rollinson's decision to sell off their entire stock of 120 animals.

Strathclyde Police said the monkeys were stolen overnight on Tuesday and are valued in excess of £10,000.

The Rollinsons opened the zoo at their two-bedroom cottage just three years ago.

Among the wildlife in the garden were wallabies, squirrel monkeys, lemurs, marmosets, pygmy goats and lizards.

The couple, both in their 60s, decided to retire to Spain but were unable to sell their home with the zoo attached.

They were actively looking for new homes for the menagerie when the break-in occurred on Tuesday night.

In all, 15 monkeys have been taken and according to Mr Rollinson the thieves had to go through five locks to get at the animals.

Police have appealed for help in tracking down the thieves (BBC, 2004).

Title: Rare Monkeys Stolen In Second Theft From Zoo
Date: September 13, 2004

Abstract: Animal thieves have broken into a Devon zoo and stolen rare monkeys for the second time in two months. Staff at the Shaldon Wildlife Trust, near Teignmouth, believe that the primates were taken to supply demand on the continent.

In the raid on Saturday night, the thieves took 10 monkeys, including a four-week-old goeldi's monkey and its parents.

The other animals stolen were silvery marmosets, cotton-top tamarins and a spider monkey.

Six weeks ago, five other spider monkeys were taken from the centre in another burglary.

Tracey Moore, trust director, said: "It is completely devastating for us. They were all rare species. We don't buy or sell our animals, but they are just trading them like a commodity.

"It is just so cruel to take a baby and a parent. We don't know where they are or if they are being looked after properly" (Telegraph, 2004).

Title: Pet Monkey Stolen
Date: February 2, 2005

Abstract: Barbara Kursch, of Glen Burnie, woman told county police her son's 8-month-old Capuchin monkey was stolen on the morning of Feb 2. Police said the incident happened about 8:30 a.m. at a Baylor Road home.

Ms. Kursch told police she came home to feed the animal when she made the discovery.

"All we know is she says someone broke into her house and stole it," said Sgt.
Shawn Urbas, a county police spokesman.

Owner Brian Howard told police a neighbor first noticed the break-in after one of the family's two dogs started barking. He said they later discovered someone had pulled into the driveway, bashed the front door in with a cinder block and snatched the female monkey.

A white-threaded Capuchin, Janey is one of two. Mr. Knight also owns an 8-year-old named Nikki.

"Whoever did it knew what they were doing," said Mr. Knight, who discovered a pile of wooden chips - the monkey's bedding - scattered outside.

The pet was valued at $7,000 and there are no suspects.

It's a first for county police who, despite having wrangled with horses, wallabies and other Noah's Ark favorites over the years, haven't ever been sent on a wild goose chase, Sgt. Urbas said.

"We don't recall any other monkey kidnappings," he said.

Hailing from south central America, the inquisitive Capuchin species is frequently a favorite for exotic pet collectors - not necessarily a good thing, according to Sue Beatty, executive director of the county Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"They're very cute as babies," she said. "(But) most cases, when they become sexually mature, they become aggressive."

Even if the monkey is found, there may not be a happy ending. Sgt. Urbas said. Though the state Department of Natural Resources has no restriction on exotic pets, the county does.

"I believe this monkey falls under that," he said, adding owners can be cited and the animals can be placed in shelters pending investigation. "We take it on a case-by-case basis."

For now, Mr. Knight said he is focusing on getting more locks for his doors.

"It just belwilders me that someone could actually go to your front door, put a cinder block through and nobody in the neighborhood has seen it"
(, 2005).

Title: Stolen Monkeys Back Home At Zoo
Date: February 4, 2005

Abstract: Three rare monkeys stolen from a zoo are recovering well after the incident,their keeper has said.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the theft of cotton-top Tamarins Rio, Pinky and Baby from Drayton Manor Theme Park and Zoo.

Police returned the monkeys to the zoo's managing director after finding them in two buildings in Birmingham.

Their keeper said: "They don't seem to be too traumatised about it. They seem quite happy."

Primate keeper Emma Swaddle, 18, added: "I was worried when they went, whether they were all together - they need to be together - and whether they were in the warmth, because they need temperature, and whether they were getting fed right or not.

"I'm just relieved to have them back."

The cotton-top Tamarins were taken on Monday by thieves who are believed to have climbed over a fence and smashed their way into the monkey house.


Tamarin monkeys are an endangered species that normally live in the rainforests of Colombia in South America, which are being destroyed.

They have long tongues which they use to extract sap from trees and catch frogs (BBC, 2005).

Title: Five Endangered Monkeys Stolen In Latest Zoo Heist
Date: June 20, 2006
LJ World

Abstract: Five endangered monkeys were stolen from a zoo over the weekend, the latest in a recent string of thefts involving small primates across England, police said Monday.

A family of silvery marmosets - male, female and 2-month-old baby - and a pair of Geoffrey marmosets were taken late Saturday from nesting boxes at Drusillas Park Zoo in East Sussex. Thieves also tried to break into a third enclosure holding small monkeys, zoo officials said.

Zoos in Devon and Suffolk have also had small monkeys pilfered in recent weeks.

"This is not a casual crime," said John Haywood, coordinator of the National Theft Register for Exotic Animals. "This is extremely well-organized, and is no doubt part of a series. These are specialist crimes."

Haywood, who estimated more than 50 small monkeys have been stolen in England and Scotland the past few years, said police believe the breeding pairs of marmosets were taken for use in the international illegal pet trade.

"We think they may have been taken to an illegal breeding station somewhere, with the intent of selling them abroad, across Europe," he said.

A spokesman for Drusillas Park Zoo, Ian Flamank, puts the marmosets' value at $3,700-$5,500 each.

Because small monkeys can be successfully bred in captivity, their profit potential is great - but their quality as pets is not. "They're great - behind glass," Flamank said. "But they wouldn't make great pets. They're not companion animals."

Adult silvery marmosets weigh less than a pound and rarely exceed a foot in length, while the Geoffrey variety is a little larger.

Jazz, the mother in the silvery marmoset family, has a serious jaw condition and could die without medication, Flamank said. Her baby, Larkin, is similarly at risk, having only just been weaned.

"There's always hope. We'd really like to hold out for them to come back," he said (LJ World, 2006).

Stolen Monkey Found With Children
Date: July 20, 2006

Abstract: A squirrel monkey stolen from a zoo has been found playing with children in south London.

Zoo keepers at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey discovered he was missing from his enclosure on Monday.

They said SpongeBob was not a pet but a wild animal and people were warned not to approach the monkey.

A member of the public found him playing with children in Clapham on Wednesday and handed him in safely to police in Brixton, officers said.

The zoo said that two-year-old SpongeBob, a Bolivian squirrel monkey, had been safely returned to the theme park after his three-day ordeal and would be put back in his enclosure following health checks.

But keepers said he was still upset and unsettled after what had clearly been "a disturbing experience" for him, during which he suffered from weight-loss, hunger and stress.

"We are hopeful he will get back to his normal, playful self soon," head of mammals Sonia Freeman said.

'Cheeky personality'

The theft was discovered early on Monday, when Chessington zoo keepers noticed two fences had been damaged in the new Monkey and Bird Garden walk-through area.

Ms Freeman said at the time that keepers were "devastated" at the theft of the "much-loved" monkey, known for his "cheeky personality".

SpongeBob had only been at the zoo for three months and it was reported that his disappearance left all the squirrel monkeys in a state of turmoil as he was the only breeding male in the group.

Police said their investigation into the theft was still under way.

Detective Constable David Burton said he had no idea how SpongeBob travelled the 12 miles from the zoo to Clapham.

He said: "It is difficult to see how he got there by his own steam.

"We are treating this as a burglary. We are almost convinced he was taken by somebody, because of things like the way the fences at the zoo were cut" (BBC, 2006).

Rare Monkey Stolen From Zoo In Brazil
Date: June 6, 2007
Red Orbit

Abstract: The theft of a rare Amazon monkey from a Brazilian zoo could harm biologists’ efforts to repopulate the endangered species, zoo officials said Wednesday.

Workers arriving at the zoo Tuesday morning noticed the male pied tamarin was missing, and found a wrench and a coat left behind in its cage.

“This is a significant loss,” said Luiz Antonio da Silva Pires, director of the city zoo in Bauru, 220 miles northwest of Sao Paulo. “The monkey was likely one of the few still alive in captivity and we were hoping to use it to start a new population and keep the species alive.”

Pires said the pied tamarins have increasingly lost their natural habitat because of urban growth and as farmers slash down jungle to graze cattle. How many are still alive is not known, although they have occasionally been sighted near the jungle city of Manaus, 1,700 miles northwest of Sao Paulo.

The zoo has been trying for months to find a female pied tamarin to mate with the 2.2-pound monkey.

“It’s hard to say who would do this,” Pires said. “This monkey would not be sold very easily; it’s not usually used as a pet.” Police did not have any suspects.

According to Renctas, a Brazilian organization that fights animal smuggling, illegal trafficking of rare species generates about $2 billion a year in the country. Many of the animals are sold to collectors in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Brazil’s environmental protection agency alerted agents nationwide in an attempt to find the monkey, spokesman Gustavo Rick said (Red Orbit, 2007).

Title: Stolen Monkeys Recovered In Washington County
Date: November 5, 2007
Pittsburgh Post Gazzet

Abstract: Two monkeys stolen early this morning are back in their Washington County home, and their grateful owner credits widespread media reporting for their safe return.

Grant L. Kemmerer III received a phone call at about 8:30 a.m. today from a woman who said she had one of his rare monkeys and was trying to locate the second one. The woman, who would not give her name or phone number, called back about an hour later and made arrangements to meet Mr. Kemmerer to return the monkeys -- a spot-nose guenon and a mona guenon.

The woman was accompanied by a teenaged boy. She gave the monkeys to Mr. Kemmerer and sped away.

"Apparently teenaged boys had heard that there was marijuana growing in my greenhouse," Mr. Kemmerer said, basing his speculattion on what the woman told him. "We use the greenhouse to grow tropical plants" to feed the exotic animals whose nutritional needs can not be met by local grocery or pet stores.

Mr. Kemmerer keeps 80 animals as part of his business, Wild World of Animals. He does educational programs for schools and scout groups as well as at fairs and festivals.

Mr. Kemmerer said he and his wife returned home from an out-of-town show at about 2:30 a.m. today and saw that the greenhouse door was open. When he went to investigate, he saw that three cages had been destroyed. Two of the monkeys were gone, but a third monkey was still in the greenhouse.

"The phone has been ringing all morning," Mr. Kemmerer said. "Widespread reporting by the media is why these animals are back here with me" (Pittsburgh Post Gazzet, 2007).

Title: Gorillas Go Ape Over Stolen Monkeys
Date: December 19, 2007

Abstract: Concern for three monkeys stolen from an exotic animal preserve near Lee's Summit, Mo., brought out people dressed in gorilla costumes at the Jackson County Courthouse on Tuesday.

The three pigtailed macaques were stolen in October from Monkey Island. Owner Dana Savorelli said there is surveillance video that shows a former volunteer drugging the three monkeys, netting them, sticking them with needles and then taking them away.

Former volunteer Cathy Montes went to court for arraignment Tuesday on burglary and theft charges. Savorelli said Montes confessed in writing to the theft, but she hasn't revealed where the missing monkeys are.

"If I come to your house and stole your dogs, and you have me on tape, a written confession -- if that isn't enough, what more do you need?" Savorelli said.

Savorelli said Montes was essentially fired as a volunteer in the summer over safety concerns because her monkey died at the facility.

On Tuesday, the owner and some volunteers resorted to monkey business to get the word out about the theft. They donned gorilla suits and carried protest signs outside the Jackson County Courthouse.

"We don't have our monkeys back. They been gone two months, and we want our monkeys back," Monkey Island volunteer Suzanne Windsor said.

The volunteers in gorilla suits chased after Montes when she left court Tuesday.

Savorelli said she is trying to raise a reward fund because someone has to know where the three missing monkeys are (KMBC, News).

Title: One Of Two Stolen Exotic Monkeys Returned To St. Cloud Owner
Date: April 17, 2008

Abstract: A Channel 9 viewer saw the story aired about the monkeys Wednesday night and realized the monkey he had just bought had been stolen, so he returned it. St. Cloud police said the exotic monkey was sold for $250 (Care2, 2008).

Title: Search Continues For Stolen Spider Monkey
Date: May 17, 2008

Abstract: Jocko and Mia had been together for 15 years when someone brutally ended their love affair.

Staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo were devastated Wednesday to find Jocko, a 17-year-old male spider monkey, lying dead inside the enclosure he shared with his longtime companion, Mia.

Mia, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found. The 17-year-old female monkey with the bright blue eyes is presumed to have been stolen during an overnight break-in.

“We’re pretty much a wreck,” said zoo representative Jody Henderson of the mood at the facility Wednesday.

“They are our children, there is no doubt about it.”

The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, when the primate zoo keeper made the grim discovery.

Henderson said it’s not clear how anyone got onto the zoo grounds, but added it appears the suspect or suspects headed directly to the primate cage.

Bolt cutters were used to cut a hole through the chainlink fence surrounding the monkeys’ outdoor enclosure.

The matter has been turned over to Langley RCMP, who continue to hunt for suspects in the case.

Cpl. Peter Thiessen said the motive for the break-in is unclear, but speculated the 20-pound female monkey may have been stolen as a pet or to be sold on the black market.

“This is a significant theft,” he said.

Spider monkeys — a threatened species native to South America — are worth about $5,000 each.

Henderson said neither Mia nor Jocko — who were born in captivity and acquired from an Ontario zoo — have been directly handled by their keepers, and are considered wild.

“Any kind of handling would have been done through the fence. As with all the animals here at the zoo, we try to keep the situation natural, as much as you can for a captive environment,” she said.

Spider monkeys are considered among the most intelligent of their species, and, though small in stature, are incredibly agile and fierce when protecting their young or mates.

That protective instinct may have led to Jocko’s death, said Henderson.

“If anybody came in that enclosure, there would definitely have been some form of aggression,” she said.

Thiessen said whoever broke into the monkey pen may have sustained scratches and cuts.

The cause of Jocko’s death is not yet known, and there were no overt signs of trauma to the body.

A necropsy has been scheduled for as soon as possible to help provide answers, said Henderson.

As for Mia’s fate, Henderson said staff remain extremely concerned.

Monkeys require specialized care, diet and activities to thrive, she said.

“You need to be educated in what you’re doing . . . the average person just wouldn’t have a clue what to do.”

Mia is described as having dark brown fur, with a light blond chest and steel-blue eyes. She is about a half-metre tall with a very long tail.

Henderson said anyone who spots Mia should call the zoo and not approach her because she has very sharp teeth and could attack because she is traumatized.

This appears to be the second recent instance of a monkey theft from a Canadian zoo.

On April 22, a rare baby South American Callimico goeldii monkey named April was taken from the Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John, N.B.

The monkey was abducted from her cage, sparking a desperate plea from zookeepers for her safe return.

Police received a call two days later from a man with “a low voice,” who provided the location of the baby monkey. They found April nearby in a plastic container with a few air vents cut into it, and speedily returned her to the zoo
(, 2008).

Title: Stolen Monkeys Recovered In Raid
Date: July 10, 2009

Abstract: Two rare monkeys stolen from a farm in County Durham have been found at a house in South Tyneside.

The pair of Goeldi's monkeys were taken from their cage at Tweddle Animal Farm, Blackhall Colliery, on 22 June.

Following a tip-off, they were recovered by police during a raid at a property in Wapping Street, South Shields, on Thursday.

A 21-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of burglary and bailed pending further inquiries.

The animals have been returned to the farm and owner Denise Wayman said she was relieved and delighted to have them back.

It was hoped the pair, which had been donated to the farm, would breed as there are thought to be only about 10 Goeldi's monkeys in the UK (BBC, 2009).

Title: No Monkey Business This — Brazilian Simians Stolen From Alipore Zoo
Date: August 11, 2009
Indian Express

Abstract: Eight wild Brazilian Marmoset monkeys (Callithrix Jacchus) were stolen from the Alipore Zoo on Saturday night. According to the police, preliminary investigations showed a gang involved in the illegal trade of wild animals stole the monkeys by breaking open their cage. Zoo sources said each of the monkeys will fetch nearly Rs 1 lakh in the illegal market.

Hinting at the role of an insider in the offence, police said a similar attempt to steal the monkeys from the zoo was foiled by the security guards in March. The miscreants had then fled by scaling the walls of the zoo, abandoning the sack in which they had managed to shove a Marmoset monkey.

Alipore Zoological Gardens Director Subir Choudhury said: “The incident came to light in the morning when a zoo employee went to feed the monkeys. He found that the net of the cage was cut open on one side and the monkeys were missing.”

He soon raised an alarm and informed senior officials. A complaint has been lodged with the Watgunge police station.

Choudhury said a pair of Marmosets was brought in from the Delhi Institute of Immunology in January 2001 for breeding. At present, 16 such monkeys are kept in two separate groups of eight in the zoo. One group is kept in the Balaram House and another in the Leanto Shed, near the old children’s zoo. The miscreants cut open the net of the Leanto Shed and stole the eight Marmosets.

“After the theft attempt in March, we apprehended more such attempts in the future. There were no specific guards for the Marmoset’s cages then. We posted a guard from a private security agency for round-the-clock vigil,” said the director.

After the zoo closes, one guard is posted at the cage from 5 to 10 pm when another takes over. He remains till 6 am and thereafter the zoo employees take over. Police have detained two security guards — Shyamsundar Ghosh and Ashok Patra — who were posted on Saturday night and their supervisor S Bhattacharya. Zoo sources also said the animal keeper, who was supposed to join duty at 6 am, did not turn up on Sunday. As a result, a zoo employee went there to feed the animals and clean their cage around 8.30 am. So the cage was left unattended from 6 to 8.30 am. Soon after the theft, the CID was intimated and Railway officials were also alerted to check all outgoing trains. Police are also closing in to check all possible escape routes from Kolkata. Fingerprint experts of the Kolkata police have visited the zoo to take the fingerprints at the cage (Indian Express, 2009).

Title: Rare Monkeys Stolen From Kolkata Zoo Rescued; One Held
Date: August 30, 2009
The Hindu

Abstract: Chhattisgarh police have rescued seven of the eight rare Brazilian monkeys (marmosets) stolen from a Kolkata zoo early this month. One person arrested from Durg district in connection with the sensational case.

Rajesh Saikia alias Raj, hailing from Guwahati, was arrested on Friday evening by crime branch sleuths near Khursipar gate, 40 kms from here, Deepanshu Kabra, Superintendent of Police, Durg, said on Saturday, adding police were investigating whether he had links with any international racket involved in smuggling of rare animals.

Rajesh told the police that one of the monkeys had died and he had buried the body. The carcass has also been recovered, the official said.

Following a tip off, crime branch sleuths posed as traders who were interested in buying the rare monkeys, which are in high demand for zoological research due to their genetic proximity to human beings, and met Rajesh who agreed to sell the animals.

The deal was sealed after they agreed to pay Rs. 10 lakh for each of the seven monkeys, the SP said, adding Rajesh was nabbed when he came to collect the money.

During interrogation, Rajesh claimed that another person Babui Bangali was also involved in the illegal trade.

“The West Bengal police have been informed and we have sent our team to nab Bangali,” the SP said.

Kolkata police had also announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 to anyone giving information on the stolen monkeys.

In India, these rare monkeys can only be seen at the Kolkata zoo and in Mysore. Altogether 16 Brazilian monkeys were brought to Alipore zoo in 2001 but some of them perished after failing to adjust to the weather conditions (The Hindu, 2009).

Title: Four Monkeys, Parrot Stolen From Zoo
Date: September 10, 2009
Red Orbit

Abstract: Florida police said a thief or thieves used bolt cutters to enter cages at the Palm Beach Zoo and steal four monkeys and a parrot.

West Palm Beach police said three squirrel monkeys, a Goeldi’s monkey and the parrot were discovered missing Thursday morning, WPBF-TV, West Palm Beach, reported Thursday.

Authorities said a $5,000 reward is being offered for the return of the animals (Red Orbit, 2009).

Title: Fears For Rare Monkeys Stolen From Enclosure
Date: June 1, 2010
ABC News

Abstract: Members of the public are being asked to help find eight endangered monkeys which were stolen from a wildlife park south of Sydney at the weekend.

Worried staff at the Symbio Wildlife Park at Helensburgh have set up a Facebook page appealing for the return of the breeding pair of cotton top tamarins, their two six month old babies, and four pygmy marmosets.

The staff say the animals are crucial to an international breeding program and need specialist care to survive.

It is believed there are only 300 cotton top tamarins left in the wild.

Detectives say thieves gained access to the monkey's enclosure at the park on Sunday night.

Inspector Brian Wyver of the Wollongong Local Area Command says staff discovered the monkeys missing when they arrived on Monday morning.

"They have returned and found the rear door of the enclosure had been forced," he said.

The owner of the wildlife park John Radnidge says the thieves appeared to have used bolt cutters, then took out the power and captured the monkeys with nets.

"These people were obviously aware as to what they needed to do and what they needed to bring," he said.

Mr Radnidge says the eight animals combined are so small they could fit in a shoe box.

It is the second time in a fortnight rare animals have been pinched from their enclosures.

Keepers at Sydney's Taronga Zoo discovered on May 20 that two green-winged macaws had been stolen.

Police are investigating whether that crime is linked to the theft of another pair of macaws from a house in Sydney three months earlier.

Anyone with information about the thefts can contact police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (ABC News, 2010).

Title: Endangered Monkeys Stolen From Wollongong Zoo
Date: June 1, 2010
Syndey Morning Herald

Abstract: Eight endangered monkeys, so small they could fit comfortably in a handbag, were pilfered under the cloak of darkness from a Wollongong zoo over the weekend.

The pair of cotton-top tamarins - Mitu and Bella - their two six-month-old babies - Rico and Toro - and four three-year-old pygmy marmosets - Milagro, Thiago, Alonso and Che - were stolen from the monkey enclosure at Symbio Wildlife Park while storms were lashing the Illawarra region on Sunday night.


Cotton-tip tamarins, native to South America, are estimated by biologists to number just 300 in the wild.

Wildlife park director, John Radnidge, said he was shocked by the thieves' "brazen" operation.

"On a cold, wet, windy, miserable, rainy night they cut the power to the exhibit; it was very clear these people knew exactly what they were doing," Mr Radnidge said.

"They had probably cased the joint before the attack; they'd cut the power; they cut their way through three padlocks to gain access to both exhibits and in the darkness of the night they would have had to have torches and nets to be able to catch these animals up."

The pygmy marmosets, among the world's smallest monkeys, could fit in the palm of a zookeeper's hand.

"The baby cotton-tops are smaller again and the adult cotton-tops are not much bigger," Mr Radnidge said.

"You could take these eight monkeys and put them in a Woolies shopping bag along with your cereal and coffee and still have room and that's how small they are."

But the monkeys, all part of international breeding programs, are also notoriously difficult to get to know. The keepers took a year to earn their trust, he said.

And now their future is uncertain.

All eight are micro-chipped but there was no CCTV system monitoring their enclosure, he said.

Mr Radnidge was adamant no black market existed in Australia or Asia for the monkeys, unlike for macaws, four of which were stolen from Taronga Zoo and a private residence recently.

"You can just merge a macaw into your collection and they're very valuable birds from a dollar point of view ... but they don't stand out like the nose on your face," he said.

"Cotton-tops and pygmy marmosets are so rare and unusual, those who have them in their possession will be found, I'm sure of that."

Anyone with information about the theft should phone Helensburgh police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (Sydney Morning Herald, 2010).

Title: Stolen Monkey Killed By Blunt Object
Date: October 12, 2010
Herald Sun

Abstract: An autopsy has found one of two critically endangered monkeys stolen from a Queensland zoo died from injuries caused by being struck by a blunt object.

Police say the two cotton-top tamarin monkeys were stolen from their enclosure at Alma Park Zoo, north of Brisbane, sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The male monkey, Tonto, was found dead in a Dakabin backyard on Sunday afternoon. The female, Conchetta, is still missing.

Police say an autopsy on Tonto has revealed injuries caused by being struck by a blunt instrument.

The rare monkeys were part of an important international breeding program.

Inspector Russell Miller said police held grave fears for the other monkey.

"Time is running out for this animal and we urge anyone with any information to urgently contact police," Insp Miller said.

 Alma Park Zoo manager Garry Connell said Conchetta was a breeding female and important to the conservation of Cotton-top Tamarin monkeys.

"Cotton-top tamarin monkeys are a critically endangered species and breeding pairs are invaluable and hold the key to the ongoing future of the species," Mr Connell said.

"It is so important that we get Conchetta back and we are urging anyone with information to please call police."

Conchetta is described as tiny, about the size of a large rodent, weighing around 500 grams and about 200mm tall if standing on her hind legs.

Police are holding a press conference this afternoon
(Herald Sun, 2010).

Title: Stolen Monkey Found 'Free-Ranging' In Bedroom
Date: November 2, 2010
Syndey Morning Herald

Abstract: A marmoset monkey stolen from a south coast animal park has been reunited with its family and twin after it was rescued during a police raid in Wollongong yesterday.

The female marmoset, nicknamed "Cheeky", was found "free-ranging" in the bedroom of a Koonawarra home after anonymous tip-offs to police and Nowra Wildlife Park.

Lake Illawarra police executed a search warrant on the house in Illabunda Crescent yesterday and found the monkey in a bedroom.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested at the house and charged with having stolen goods in custody. She was granted conditional bail and will appear before Wollongong Local Court on December 7.

The park's head zookeeper Trent Burton said the marmoset was probably not the planned target of the heist, with the thieves more likely to have been after a large South American iguana which was kept nearby.

He said the house police raided was equipped with several reptile enclosures and paraphernalia, including rodent breeding tubs and a turtle tank.

"When I went to the house [Cheeky] was actually free-ranging in a bedroom," he said.

"From what I could tell I think they [the residents of the house] were playing a little bit dumb."

Mr Burton said Cheeky seemed stressed but he was filled with relief when she responded to a training drill involving touching a red dot on the end of a stick.

"She knew what was going on," he said.

"I got out the target ... she came out, she touched the red dot, I picked her up [and] put her in a pillowcase so she was nice and snug."

Mr Burton said the iguana was "quite elusive" and the thieves may have been unable to catch it - so they stole the marmoset.

Mr Burton said it would be hard to keep a pet monkey a secret, and thanked the people who did the right thing and called in with information.

"Too often people keep their mouths shut," he said.

"For these people to have a conscience and have the animal's best interests at heart - they were really the key."

He said he hoped the perpetrators would be punished in order to send a message that stealing animals was not on.

"For the industry's sake there really needs to be harsh penalties," he said.

In June, eight rare monkeys were stolen from Symbio Wildlife Park at Helensburgh.

Three of the four cotton-top tamarins taken in the theft were later found in a park in Auburn in Sydney. The fourth, named Rico, has not been found.

The other four, all pygmy marmosets, were found dumped at an Auburn vet.

Last month two cotton-top tamarins were stolen from Alma Park Zoo, north of Brisbane (Syndey Morning Herald, 2010).

Title: Monkey Dies From Blow To Head After Zoo Break-In
November 17, 2012
Fox News

A break-in at Zoo Boise early Saturday left a Patas monkey dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck and police were analyzing blood found at the scene to determine if it came from the monkey or one of two human intruders.

Two males wearing dark clothing were spotted by a security guard at 4:30 a.m. outside the fence near the primate exhibit, police said. Both fled, one of them heading into the interior of the zoo. Boise police used a thermal imager in searching the 11-acre zoo grounds but didn't find the person.

"I've been here for 15 years and we haven't had anything like this happen," Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns said. "It's unfortunate that we have to let kids know that something like this happens. Monkeys are always among the most favorite animals here."

Patas monkeys, often called the military monkey, have reddish-brown fur with grey chin whiskers and distinctive white moustaches. They are widely distributed across central Africa south of the Sahara Desert and can live more than 20 years in captivity.

During a search of the zoo before dawn, Burns heard a groan that at first he thought sounded human. It turned out to be an injured Patas monkey barely moving near the perimeter fence.

The zoo's veterinarian was called, but the monkey died just before 6 a.m. as it was being examined. A necropsy later determined that blunt force trauma was the cause of death, police said.

An inventory done by zoo staff found no other animals missing or injured. The zoo has one remaining Patas monkey -- another male -- but it's unclear if it will remain at the zoo or will be sent to another zoo where it can socialize with other Patas monkeys, Burns said.

"They're not endangered in the wild, but there are not many in zoos in the United States," he said. "Monkeys are social animals. We only have one."

The two Patas monkeys came to Zoo Boise about three years ago from Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in Florida. They had an outdoor enclosure during the summer in Boise but were moved indoors to the primate building when colder weather arrived.

Burns said the monkeys hadn't been given names, and he didn't know their ages. The monkey that was killed was about 2 1/2 feet tall and weighed about 30 pounds, Burns said.

Burns declined to discuss details of the police investigation, including how the intruder entered the primate building, if the monkeys might have been specifically targeted, or how the monkey ended up near the perimeter fence. The zoo doesn't have surveillance cameras, he said.

"It's very disturbing that someone would intentionally break into the zoo and harm an animal," said Sgt. Ted Snyder of the Boise Police Department in a statement. "We're doing all we can to find who did this."

Amy Stahl of Boise Parks & Recreation said the death shocked zoo workers.

"They're hit hard," Stahl said. "They care for the animals on a daily basis and they care about them deeply."

The zoo was supposed to open at 10 a.m. but remained closed while police gathered evidence, opening about 2:30 p.m. (Fox News, 2012).