A 5-year-old boy was rewarded with the lifetime membership of the San Francisco Zoo after he helped the cops recapture an endangered stolen primate.
The theft of Maki, an arthritic 21-year-old lemur made the news in San Francisco and beyond when zoo officials reported the animal missing and found evidence of forced entry at his enclosure.
Five-year-old James Trinh was unaware of the headlines when leaving his preschool, about 5 miles from the zoo, and exclaimed, “There’s a lemur! There’s a lemur!” Cynthia Huang, director of the Hope Lutheran Day School, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Huang was skeptical at first. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” she said.
Maki scurried from the parking lot into the school’s playground and took refuge in a miniature play house, as the school called police who quickly alerted animal control and zoo officials. The children, parents and teachers watched as caretakers arrived and coaxed the lemur into a transport cage, Huang said.
The cops identified 30-year-old Cory McGilloway as the suspect in the lemur’s abduction. He was booked on charges of burglary, grand theft of an animal, looting and vandalism.
San Francisco Zoo director Tanya Peterson said Maki was “an aging wild animal who needed special care” for ailments including arthritis. “He’s still agitated, dehydrated and hungry,” she said, adding that veterinarian teams were working to get him back to health.
“I understand there is a young boy there who witnessed this and also called in the tip, and we are giving his family a free membership to the zoo,” said Peterson, who thanked the boy and everyone who helped.