Missing monkeys suspect charged with additional zoo crimes

DALLAS (NewsNation) — The 24-year-old man arrested Thursday in connection with the case involving two missing emperor tamarin monkeys at the Dallas Zoo now faces additional charges for tampering with animal enclosures.

The Associated Press reported Friday Davion Irvin is accused of cutting holes in fences to enclosures for a clouded leopard and langur monkeys.

Earlier this month, a clouded leopard named Nova escaped her enclosure after a cutting tool was used to make a hole in her habitat’s fence. She was found safe near her pen.

The same type of hole was discovered in the langur monkey enclosure soon after.

A Dallas police spokesperson said officers were still investigating whether there’s any connection to the suspicious death of an endangered vulture at the zoo.

Last week, a lappet-faced vulture was found dead in its enclosure with a wound that zoo officials described as “not natural.”

The Dallas Police Department released a photo and video Tuesday of a person who was seen walking around the zoo. With help from the public, police were able to identify the suspect as Irvin.

Officers received a tip on Thursday that Irvin was seen at the Dallas World Aquarium near the animal exhibits, police said.

After police questioned Irvin, he was charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-livestock in connection with the case and taken to the Dallas County Jail, the department said.

Investigators believed someone cut open the enclosure for the monkeys and took them on Monday.

Police found the two emperor tamarin monkeys in an empty home in Lancaster, located just south of Dallas, nearly 48 hours after they were reported missing. They were found safe in a closet after police received a tip Tuesday, and they are safely back at the zoo.

This comes as a former Dallas Zoo security guard told NewsNation earlier this week that the people who should be protecting the animals are “failing at their job” after a string of breaches at the zoo.

“The people that were hired to prevent this stuff are failing at their job, and that ultimately relies on security,” the former guard said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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