Evergreen question, but what is wrong with all of you?
Today I am asking it after learning about a lemur kidnapping that allegedly took place late last year. sì, un lemur kidnapping.
Back in October, a 31-year-old man out in California swiped a ring-tailed lemur – a rare, endangered species native to Madagascar – out of the San Francisco zoo. The primate, named Maki, was found “hungry, dehydrated, and agitated”, shortly after on a playground in Daly City, ABC News reports.
Di lunedi, the alleged lemur-napper was arraigned in a virtual US district court hearing on charged of violating the Endangered Species Act. He faces up to $50,000 in fines and possibly a year in prison if found guilty.
It’s unclear why this man would kidnap an endangered lemur. I mean that in the broadest, most literal sense – as in, why would anyone do this? – but also in the sense that his motives are not elucidated in any of the reporting I’ve read on the event.
Perhaps he wanted to sell the ring-tailed lemur on the black market; that’s why in 2018 a 25-year-old in north-west England – who has since been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for burglary and theft – scooped up two Humboldt penguins, 12 roseate spoonbills and three macaws.
He sold the penguins for over $12,000, pawned off each of the spoonbills for almost $5,000 ogni (at least the four that didn’t die in his care), and cashed in on the macaws at about $700 per bird.
Similar motives could be attributed to the person who stole a red-footed tortoise out of the Buffalo Zoo in upstate New York in 2020, as those reptiles are common pets and fetch anywhere from $150-300 ogni, as well as the person who robbed California’s Fresno Chaffee Zoo of one of its lesser sulphur-crested cockatoos last November.
On a more grim note, it’s possible that the alleged lemur-napper simply wanted to sell parts of his allegedly lemur-napped lemur on the black market, similar to how poachers broke into France’s Château de Thoiry zoo in 2017, shot and killed a four-year-old southern white rhinoceros named Vince, e sawed off one of his horns. Though selling rhino horns is illegal under French and international law, people still do it, netting as much as $54,000 per gram on the black market.
Then again, maybe the man had kept a clandestine lemur habit perfectly maintained in his home and wanted to introduce Maki to it, kind of like the people who stole Miss Helen, a 16in-long horn shark, from her open-top enclosure at the San Antonio Aquarium who police say had mocked up an aquarium-level habitat for all kinds of dubiously possessed marine life in his home.
Whatever his reason … What the hell? Don’t steal animals from the zoo.