Two Turtles and 17 Rare Monkeys Stolen from Beauval Zoo

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Around 17 “extremely rare and fragile” small monkeys were stolen overnight from Saturday to Sunday at the Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher in Loir-et-Cher. The total damage is estimated at 200,000 euros.

The flight is unprecedented. Two families of extremely rare small monkeys were stolen overnight from Saturday to Sunday at the Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher on the Loir-et-Cher. On Tuesday, May 12, the chief investigators of the gendarmerie and the prosecutor of Blois assured that the theft of the seven golden lion tamarins and ten silver marmosets was “a planned operation”.

“These are extremely rare monkeys that are part of international breeding programs. The golden lion tamarins belong to the Brazilian government. They are particularly endangered species”, underlined the director of the Beauval Zoo, Rodolphe Delord, for whom the thieves “are knowledgeable ” . “They knew exactly which ones to take,” he told AFP.

An estate of 200,000 euros

In addition to the small primates, two turtles were also stolen. The total damage is estimated at 200,000 euros.

The theft of these animals protected by the Washington Convention “was relatively easy as long as the location was known”, estimated Blois prosecutor Dominique Puechmaille during a press conference with Lieutenant Colonel Eric Chuberre, commander of the Loir-et-Cher. gendarmerie.

Beauval Zoo’s director of conservation and scientific collection, Éric Bairrao, said he was “depressed” after the animals disappeared: “It’s a huge loss!” he lamented. “Here we had the largest European group of silver marmosets in a single family. It was a real laboratory.”

general mobilization

“A break-in was found at the park gate and a hiding place was attached to a CCTV camera,” said the magistrate. Once in place, four “niches that serve as a refuge for the animals and in which they spend the night. These four cages, measuring about 50 centimeters by 50 centimeters, could easily be removed,” explained Dominique Puechmaille.

Investigators don’t rule out any leads: an order from a collector, a commando operation aimed at supplying the black market with rare animals, all hypotheses are mentioned. For now, police have taken DNA samples and are seeing “hours of footage” from the zoo’s cameras that remained in operation. “Only about ten trainers of the park’s roughly 500 employees normally have access to the site in question,” Lt. Col. Chuberre said.

“All France’s gendarmeries and veterinarians have been alerted and surveillance has been reinforced at the borders,” the gendarme warned.

In social networks, it is also mobilization. The hashtag “RendezlesSinges” is all the rage on Twitter, where many messages of support were sent to the Beauval Zoo, which tweeted “Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your massive mobilization can change things!”

Increase in animal thefts

Many robberies of the same type have been committed in Europe in recent years, according to the “On the Trail” newsletter of information and analysis on poaching and animal smuggling. The publication recalls the theft in October 2013 of several marmosets from a zoo in the Canary Islands (Spain) and of five tamarins in April 2014 from the zoo in Blackpool (United Kingdom). “In 2011, two emperor tamarins and two Cercopitheques de l’Hoest were stolen from the zoo in Lyon (France) and found shortly afterwards”, notes “On the Trail”.

At the Beauval Zoo, home to France’s only pair of giant pandas, security measures were tightened once the theft was discovered “and relations between the park administration and the gendarmerie were intensified”, observed Lt. .

with AFP


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