Officials at the Dallas Zoo have teamed up with local police to look into the “unusual” death of an endangered vulture. This comes after other strange things happened at the zoo. CBS DFW said that the animal, Pin, was a lappet-faced vulture, a threatened bird species. The pin had lived at the zoo for 33 years.
In a Facebook post about the bird’s death over the weekend, the Dallas Zoo said that officials do not think that Pin died “of natural causes.” Gregg Hudson, the president and CEO of the Dallas Zoo, said at a news conference on Monday that the vulture, which was found dead in its cage by park workers, had been hurt on purpose.
Hudson told reporters at a news conference, “This goes from being about malicious and gets into really criminal intent that’s dangerous,” “I’ve been in the zoo profession over 30-plus years and never had a situation like what happened Saturday. It’s unprecedented and very disturbing.”
The Dallas Police Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started a multi-agency investigation into the incident that killed Pin and other less violent events at the colossal wildlife park in recent weeks. CBS DFW says that the zoo is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest or charge.
“This weekend, one of the endangered vultures in our Wilds of Africa habitats was found to have died. The people who care for animals are very sad about this terrible loss. Please think of them as they try to figure out what’s going on, “Sunday’s Facebook post from the Dallas Zoo said.
“The circumstances of the death are unusual, and the death does not appear to be from natural causes,” the post said. “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.”
About a week before Pin died, the Dallas Zoo called the police because a clouded leopard had gone missing after its enclosure had been “intentionally” cut. Within a day of what happened, Nova, the leopard, was found and put back in a safe place near where she usually lives.
But the zoo said there were still questions about who did it and whether they cut a hole in a monkey’s cage somewhere else on the property.
On Facebook, the Dallas Zoo said, “In the past week, we have added additional cameras throughout the Zoo and increased onsite security patrols during the overnight hours,” “We will continue to implement and expand our safety and security measures to whatever level necessary to keep our animals and staff safe.”
The Peregrine Fund, a non-profit conservation group, says that the population of lappet-faced vultures like Pin is going down because of “poisoning and human persecution,” as well as other things like electrocution, drowning in reservoirs, collisions with power lines, and the destruction of their habitat.
“Deaths are always difficult. But this is especially challenging. There’s a good chance lappet-faced vultures could move to critically endangered or even go extinct in our lifetime,” Harrison Edell, who is in charge of animal care and conservation at the Dallas Zoo, said.
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