Dallas Zoo offers $10,000 reward after unusual death of endangered vulture and other concerning incidents
DALLAS, TEXAS: Dallas Zoo officials have been investigating the 'unusual' death of an endangered vulture and local law enforcement agencies have joined the officials in their probe, as other suspicious incidents have occurred at the zoo. 'Pin,' the threatened species bird that comes under the lappet-faced vulture group had lived 33 years at the zoo.
On Sunday, January 22, the Dallas Zoo officials took to Twitter to announce the bird's death stating they do not believe that the bird died from "natural causes." The bird suffered an intentional wound that led to its death and was found by the park staff in his enclosure, according to Gregg Hudson, the Dallas Zoo President, and CEO Gregg Hudson. In a new conference on Monday, January 23, Hudson revealed that "This goes from being about malicious and gets into really criminal intent that's dangerous. I've been in the zoo profession for over 30-plus years, and never had a situation like what happened Saturday. It's unprecedented and very disturbing."
We're so grateful for the support we've received as we comprehend the unexpected loss of our 35-year-old lappet-faced vulture, Pin. Losing him is devastating not only to our Zoo family but also to the conservation efforts of this species. Pin will be missed dearly by everyone. pic.twitter.com/TJEQnT0MG1— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 24, 2023
A multi-agency investigation has begun including the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and The Dallas Police Department to solve the mysterious death of Pin along with other suspicious incidents that have been taking place in the wildlife park in the past few weeks. According to CBS DFW, zoo officials have announced a $10,000 reward for anyone who will be providing information relevant to the probe that can lead to an arrest or any legal charges.
In the tweet on Sunday, the Dallas Zoo said, "This weekend, our staff found that one of the endangered vultures in our Wilds of Africa habitats had died. The animal care team is heartbroken over this tremendous loss. Please keep them in your thoughts as they process what has happened."
"The circumstances of the death are unusual, and the death does not appear to be from natural causes. 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 tweet continued.
This weekend, our staff found that one of the endangered vultures in our Wilds of Africa habitats had died. The animal care team is heartbroken over this tremendous loss. Please keep them in your thoughts as they process what has happened. pic.twitter.com/0fqJc8Uk2Y— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 22, 2023
The zoo has sought help from police after a clouded leopard named 'Nova' escaped its own habitat through a "purposely cut" hole just one week before the vulture's death. Within a day of the missing incident, Nova has now safely made its return to another enclosure situated near her usual habitat.
"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," stated the Dallas Zoo.
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.— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 22, 2023
According to The Peregrine Fund, a nonprofit conservation organization, lappet-faced vultures come under threatened species as there is a decline in their population due to "poisoning and human persecution." Habitat destruction, drowning in reservoirs, and electrocution are among the other threats. Dallas Zoo's executive vice president for animal care and conservation stated, "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," CBS reported.