Zoos can be a great safe haven for endangered species. They protect these animals and help them repopulate their species.
But one zoo was in a panic this week after an endangered lemur was kidnapped in a burglary. But while the case hasn’t been solved, the animal was found safe in the most unexpected way.
On Wednesday, the San Francisco Zoo announced that Maki, a 21-year-old ring-tailed lemur, had been stolen.
The zoo asked the public to report any information about the lemur, who they said was a “highly endangered animal.”
According to NBC Bay Area, they offered a $2,100 for information—a hundred dollars for every year of its life.
The San Francisco Police Department began a search, urging the public to be on alert for Maki.
In addition to being an endangered animal, the lemur required special care to survive, adding extra urgency to his recovery.
But soon, Maki was found in the most unlikely of places by the most unlikely of people.
On Thursday, Sarah Riggs, a kindergarten teacher at Hope Lutheran Day School in Daly City, heard some very unusual commotion from outside.
“The parents were calling and saying there’s a lemur out on the playground,” Sarah Riggs told ABC 7 News.
Yes, it was Maki — he had been found on the playground by a 5-year-old named James Trinh.
“He was hopping around the play structures, but ultimately while he was waiting to be picked up, was hiding in the plastic playhouses,” Sarah said.
James spotted the lemur, and knew just what to do: “Call the zookeeper!”
The boy says it was “exciting” to find the animal, adding that he “likes the way they look.”
The Daly City Police Department picked up the lemur and transferred him back to the zoo.
While it’s good news that Maki was found, he’s not out of the woods just yet. There is still some concern about his health after his ordeal.
“We certainly absolutely hope for the best for Maki,” Ed Poole, chairman of the San Francisco Zoological board, told ABC 7.
And it is still a mystery of how Maki got out. It is believed he was taken in a robbery but it isn’t conclusive.
“We do not think he escaped, we think he was taken from the zoo, but we have yet to get confirmation on either of those,” Poole said.
Still, the lemur is at least home safe, thanks to a 5-year-old. “Just a lot going on in the world right now, so it was good to have some good news tonight at least,” said James’ father, Sam Trinh.
We’re so glad Maki was found! Hoping he is in good health, and that they find whoever was responsible for his disappearance!
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