A missing ring-tailed lemur has been found and returned to the San Francisco Zoo after it was spotted at a church daycare’s playground nearly five miles away from its enclosure at the zoo, police said on Thursday evening.
Maki, the 21-year-old endangered lemur, was spotted in the playground area of the Hope Lutheran Church daycare in Dale City, California, about five miles from the zoo, at around 5 p.m. on Thursday, nearly 36 hours after police started their investigation, said the Dale City Police Department.
“Officers from Daly City Police Department responded to the scene along with officers from Animal Care and Control and staff from the San Francisco Zoo. The lemur was successfully captured and positively identified as ‘Maki.’ ‘Maki’ was determined to be in good health and transported back to the San Francisco Zoo,” said the San Francisco Police Department.
We found Maki, the stolen lemur from @sfzoo!! Around 5pm, we got a report he was in the playground area of the Hope Lutheran Church. We contained him until staff from the zoo took him back home. Here is Officer Haas with Maki.
We are grateful Maki is home safely! pic.twitter.com/U5rB2RnIxC
— Daly City Police (@DalyCityPD) October 16, 2020
The San Francisco Zoo, which re-opened with limited capacity back in July, put out a Twitter notice earlier this week asking for assistance in finding the missing lemur so they could return him to his enclosure.
According to NBC News, the San Francisco Zoo also offered up a $2,100 reward for information that lead to the zoo recapturing the lemur, which requires special care. “He’s cared for by not just one person or two people, but by several people. A team of experts in the care of exotic animals,” Jason Watters, executive vice president of animal behavior and wellness at the San Francisco Zoo, told the local NBC News station.
The day after the zoo made its Twitter post, a user posted a picture of the lemur from outside her child’s daycare and said it had since been found.
The lemur was found this afternoon at my kid’s day care, Hope Lutheran, in Daly City! pic.twitter.com/mDEl1hgScw
— Sam Trinh (@TrinnerChknDnnr) October 16, 2020
While ring-tailed lemurs hail from Madagascar, their presence in the illegal pet trade has increased over the years, according to the National Zoo. The median life-span of a ring-tailed lemur is 16 years, five years younger than the lemur’s current age.
Maki the lemur was first reported missing from its enclosure early Wednesday, and officers who responded to the scene saw signs of forced entry, suggesting a burglar was responsible for taking the lemur from the zoo habitat. It’s not clear what happened afterward, and how the lemur wound up at the church daycare’s playground the next day.
The investigation remains ongoing, and has been taken over by the San Francisco Police Department’s burglary unit. The authorities have not made any arrests in the case.
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