Dallas Zoo Investigates Disappearance of Rare Monkeys, Arrest Made in Connection

The Dallas Zoo is investigating the suspicious disappearance of two rare tamarin monkeys from their restricted area habitats. On Monday morning, officials noticed two emperor tamarin monkeys were missing from their habitats and the Dallas Police Department has since taken over the investigation.

Davion Dwight Irvin, 24, was arrested on Thursday and charged with six counts of animal cruelty and two counts of burglary.[0] The arrest comes after a series of escalating incidents at the zoo in which multiple animals went missing and a vulture died.[0]

The zoo is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and indictment.[1]

The incidents began on January 13th when a clouded leopard named Nova escaped her enclosure after her fence was “intentionally cut”.[2] The leopard was eventually found near her original habitat within one day.[2] Then, on January 21, a 35-year-old endangered adult lappet-faced vulture named Pin was found dead in its habitat with “an unusual wound and injuries, which pointed to this not being a natural death.”[3]

The Dallas Police Department circulated a photo of Irvin who they believed had information about the missing emperor tamarin monkeys, who were found the following day in an abandoned house in Lancaster, about 10 miles south of the zoo.[4]

The Dallas Zoo has since implemented additional security measures such as cameras, extra fencing, and increased security patrols.[5]

The monkeys, named Bella and Finn, were taken to the zoo to be evaluated by veterinarians.[6] They were found to have lost a bit of weight but were otherwise unharmed.

Police are still searching for a motive and have yet to release the details of how Irvin was able to get the animals out undetected.[7] The zoo has said Irvin has never been an employee or volunteer of the zoo.[8]

It’s been a difficult three weeks for the zoo and its staff, who are determined to make sure such an incident never happens again.[9] They continue to implement and expand their safety and security measures to whatever level necessary to keep their animals and staff safe.[2]

The Dallas Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the pictured individual and anyone with information is asked to call 214-670-7694.[10]

0. “Suspect Charged in Connection With Missing Animals and Damaged Enclosures at Dallas Zoo” The Wall Street Journal, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/suspect-arrested-in-dallas-zoo-missing-monkeys-case-11675441495

1. “Dallas Zoo making ‘significant changes' to security” FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth, 2 Feb. 2023, https://www.fox4news.com/news/dallas-zoo-making-significant-changes-to-security

2. “Suspect arrested in connection with 2 monkeys, leopard that went missing from Dallas Zoo” CBS News, 4 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/monkeys-leopard-dallas-zoo-suspect-arrested-davion-irvin/

3. “Dallas Zoo Offers $25,000 for Information on Its Stolen Monkeys” Gizmodo, 2 Feb. 2023, https://gizmodo.com/dallas-zoo-25000-reward-stolen-monkeys-torn-enclosures-1850063763

4. “Man arrested in connection with tamarin monkey case at Dallas Zoo” DPD Beat, 3 Feb. 2023, https://dpdbeat.com/2023/02/03/man-arrested-in-connection-with-tamarin-monkey-case-at-dallas-zoo

5. “Now Police Say Two Monkeys Have Been Taken From The Dallas Zoo” BuzzFeed News, 31 Jan. 2023, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/paigeskinner/dallas-zoo-monkeys-missing

6. “Dallas Police Need ID on a Person They Want to Speak With in Missing Monkeys Case” NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, 31 Jan. 2023, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/dallas-police-need-id-on-a-person-they-want-to-speak-with-in-missing-monkeys-case-at-the-dallas-zoo/3182729/

7. “Dallas Zoo: Suspect Davion Irvin arrested in stolen monkeys, animals” USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/02/03/dallas-zoo-stolen-monkeys-davion-irvin-arrest/11177626002

8. “Dallas Police Make Arrest in Missing Monkey Case” D Magazine, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2023/02/dallas-police-make-arrest-in-missing-monkey-case/

9. “Dallas Cops Say 24-Year-Old Suspect Was Behind THREE Bizarre Zoo Incidents” The Daily Beast, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/dallas-cops-arrest-davion-irvin-in-zoos-missing-monkey-mystery

10. “Dallas Police Investigating Missing Monkeys at Dallas Zoo” DPD Beat, 31 Jan. 2023, https://dpdbeat.com/2023/01/31/dallas-police-investigating-missing-monkeys-at-dallas-zoo/