Suspect arrested in case of 2 emperor tamarin monkeys that went missing from Dallas Zoo

A suspect has been arrested in connection with two emperor tamarin monkeys that went missing from the Dallas Zoo, police said.

Davion Irvin, 24, was arrested by Dallas Police on Thursday. He was identified as a suspect earlier this week after a preliminary investigation.

The monkeys, named Bella and Finn, went missing on January 30 and were found in a vacant house the next day, the Dallas Police Department said, adding that they were “intentionally taken” in the latest in a series of incidents at the zoo involving missing or dead animals.

Dallas Police said they received a tip on Thursday that Irvin was seen near animal exhibits at the Dallas Aquarium. Officers responded and saw Irvin get onto a DART rail – Dallas’ public transportation system. They said they later found him and took him in for questioning. 

Irvin has been charged with six counts of cruelty to nonlivestock animals. Further charges are possible as the investigation is ongoing.

The two monkeys were reported missing by zoo officials to Dallas Police on January 30. Their enclosure pen had been cut open and police said “it was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised.”

“Emperor tamarin monkeys would likely stay close to home — the zoo searched near their habitat and across Zoo grounds, and did not locate them,” the department said in a statement in late January.

Dallas police received a tip that the monkeys may be at an abandoned home in Lancaster, which is part of the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area. With the help of the Lancaster Police Department, the monkeys were located in a closet of an empty home about 10 miles south of the Dallas Zoo. 

Dallas Police had released a photo and video of a suspect at the zoo, asking for the public’s help identifying him. 

In January, a clouded leopard named Nova spent hours on the loose after her enclosure was “intentionally” cut, officials said. The leopard was located near to her original habitat within one day, the zoo said

Later that month, the Dallas Zoo announced an endangered vulture named Pin had died at the zoo. 

“The circumstances of the death are unusual, and the death does not appear to be from natural causes,” the zoo said in a Facebook post at the time. “Given the recent incidents at the Zoo, we alerted the Dallas Police Department. We cannot share many details until Dallas PD has had more time to look into this matter.” 

The zoo announced on Wednesday it was offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons “responsible for these incidents.”

It has also announced they added additional cameras and security patrols after the incident involving the vulture. 

“We will continue to implement and expand our safety and security measures to whatever level necessary to keep our animals and staff safe,” the zoo said in January.

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