Officials with the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens announced Wednesday a male lemur named Maki has gone missing, and police said that his habitat at the zoo had signs of a break-in. The Zoo said that Maki is well over his life expectancy and was the slowest of all the lemurs they have, so he’s easy to catch.
The animal, which is native to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa, was being kept in the zoo's Lipman Family Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in North America, featuring seven different types of lemurs.
Maki is a ring-tailed lemur; gray in color and with a black and white striped tail. According to zoo officials, the San Francisco Police Department is investigating the animal's disappearance, including the possibility that a break-in occurred at the habitat.
"We understand that lemurs are adorable animals, but Maki is a highly endangered animal that requires special care. We are asking the public for help in his return," the zoo's Vice President of Wellness and Animal Behavior Dr. Jason Watters said in a statement.
"As one of our oldest lemurs, Maki requires a specialized diet. Of the 19 lemurs here, at 21.5 years, he has exceeded median life expectancy of 16.7 years, but is also one of the slowest, and we believe, likely, the easiest to catch."
California residents are banned from having lemurs are pets. If Maki is confirmed to be stolen, it would not be the first time an animal at the zoo has been stolen.
Back in 2011, suspects allegedly snuck into the zoo overnight, cutting a perimeter gate and climbing atop a primate shelter in order to cut into mesh and steal 17-year-old squirrel monkey Banana Sam.
The next day, however, a resident located the animal in bushes at Stern Grove and placed him in a backpack before contacting authorities, who then returned him to the zoo. The culprits in the 2011 case were never apprehended.
Anyone with information about Maki's whereabouts are asked to call the Police Department's 24-hour tip line at (415) 575-444 or to text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message.