An elderly, endangered ring-tailed lemur stolen from the San Francisco zoo earlier this week has been found and returned safely to his home, police said on Thursday.
Maki, a 21-year-old male lemur, was discovered missing on Wednesday morning, shortly before the zoo opened to visitors. Police found evidence of a forced entry to the enclosure.
Thank you for your supportive messages during this difficult time. At this time, we do not have any updates about Maki and we are very concerned. We’re offering a $2,100 reward, $100 for every year Maki has lived, for any information leading to his recovery. pic.twitter.com/L96OZiTCKj— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) October 15, 2020
On Thursday evening, witnesses spotted what they believed to be Maki at a playground in Daly City, a few miles south of the zoo. They alerted the authorities, who quickly responded, San Francisco police said.
The lemur was found this afternoon at my kid's day care, Hope Lutheran, in Daly City! pic.twitter.com/mDEl1hgScw— Sam Trinh (@TrinnerChknDnnr) October 16, 2020
“We contained him until staff from the zoo took him back home,” Daly City police tweeted.
The lemur was “positively identified” to be Maki and was in good health, San Francisco police said.
We found Maki, the stolen lemur from @sfzoo!! Around 5pm, we got a report he was in the playground area of the Hope Lutheran Church. We contained him until staff from the zoo took him back home. Here is Officer Haas with Maki.— Daly City Police (@DalyCityPD) October 16, 2020
We are grateful Maki is home safely! pic.twitter.com/U5rB2RnIxC
SFPD on Friday afternoon said they arrested a suspect in the burglary – or kidnapping, as it has been called on the Twitter account created for the character Maki the Lemur. The department said it had reason to believe a 30-year old man who was arrested on an unrelated matter was connected to the incident.
This was not the first time an elderly animal was taken from the San Francisco zoo. In 2011, “Banana Sam” – a 17-year-old squirrel monkey, was taken from his cage before being found “hungry, trembling and thirsty” in a nearby park a few days later. As with most mishaps and misadventures in San Francisco, someone made him his own Twitter account and took to tweeting his time away from the zoo.
OMG YOU GUYS RAINFOREST CAFE IS NOT WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE. It's basically an Applebee's with a "Sounds of the Jungle" CD playing. I'm out.— Banana Sam (@SF_BananaSam) December 30, 2011
Banana Sam died two years later.
WITH HEAVY HEARTS: Beloved squirrel monkey Banana Sam passed away on 11/21/13. Photo by Marianne Hale pic.twitter.com/LZHDzb77EK— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) November 22, 2013
In 2000, two teenagers were arrested for stealing two koalas – seven-year-old Leanne and her mother, Pat, 15 – from the zoo. The two koalas, described as “the cutest things you have ever seen”, were found safely playing at the teenagers’ home.
UPDATE: this story has been updated to reflect that the San Francisco police department have made an arrest in the case.