Dallas Zoo’s status ‘not in jeopardy,’ head of accreditation body says

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The president of a major accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums threw his support behind the Dallas Zoo, which has been the center of a series of suspicious activity in recent months.
Recent events at the Dallas Zoo include multiple broken enclosures, the suspicious death of an endangered vulture and most recently, the disappearance of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys.
Authorities found the two monkeys Tuesday afternoon inside an abandoned home in Lancaster after a tipster led them to the location, according to Dallas police. The monkeys were returned to the zoo, police said.
Zoo officials had said that they believed that the animals had been stolen.
In a news release Tuesday, Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said the string of incidents were “troubling,” but said the organization has “utmost confidence in the professional staff at Dallas Zoo.”
“To be clear, Dallas Zoo’s accreditation with AZA is not in jeopardy,” Ashe said in a news release.
The association’s statement in support of the Dallas Zoo comes about a month before zoo leaders are expected to appear before the accreditation body, Rob Vernon, an AZA spokesman, said in an email.
Police on Tuesday shared images of a person that investigators want to interview regarding the disappearance of the two monkeys.
“Dallas Zoo and its animals are victims of acts, presumably intended to take animals for personal reasons, or worse, to be trafficked,” Ashe wrote. “AZA and its entire member community stand squarely with Dallas Zoo and condemn these acts of violence against the Zoo, its animals, and the entire Dallas community.”
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is the accrediting body for zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries, according to its website. Four facilities — the Dallas Zoo, the Fort Worth Zoo, the Dallas World Aquarium and SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium — are accredited by the association.
Staff Writer Yamil Berard contributed to this report.

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