NewsFlorida News


Kali is home! Monkey stolen from Palm Beach Zoo recovered, in good health

Goeldi's monkey valued at $10,000
Posted at 7:47 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 07:47:25-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — UPDATE: West Palm Beach police said Wednesday morning a monkey that was stolen earlier this week at the Palm Beach Zoo has been recovered and is in good health.

According to a news release from the zoo, detectives returned the female monkey named "Kali" to zoo officials shortly before midnight Wednesday. It's unclear how police found the primate or if anyone has been arrested.

"We are grateful for the tenacious and passionate detectives and police officers involved in our case," said Zoo President & CEO Margo McKnight.

Zoo officials say the 12-year-old Goeldi's monkey suffers from inflammation appears to be in good health. The species is native to South America and valued at $10,000 on the black market.

“Kali is doing well considering she has been without her medication for days,” McKnight said in a written statement. “Our animal care team is monitoring her closely, and our goal is to reunite her with Quito, her mate, as soon as we know she’s healthy."

The zoo released video Wednesday morning of the monkey back in her cage and eating.

Watch the video below:

EARLIER STORY: A reward is increasing in the effort to find a 12-year-old monkey that was stolen from the Palm Beach Zoo on Monday morning.

The zoo announced Tuesday it'll match a $3,000 Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to the arrest and safe return of Kali. That brings the total reward to $6,000.

"Time is of the essence, we need Kali returned," said zoo spokesperson Naki Carter on Tuesday afternoon.

Surveillance video released Tuesday shows a male suspect approaching the monkey's enclosure on the west side of the zoo. Officials say he cut through mesh in a fence to get inside. Zoo officials and police are currently reviewing the video, which appears to show the thief holding his head.



— Alanna Quillen (@AlannaWPTV) February 12, 2019

"We are calling on people to do the right thing. A member of our family is missing," said Carter on Tuesday. "She is a vulnerable species, there are not many of them left in the wild."

The zoo said Kali is a goeldi's monkey, which is from South American rainforests and worth around $10,000 on the black market.

"This very small and rare monkey is increasingly sought after for the illegal pet trade," said Margo McKnight, President and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo. "We don’t buy and sell our animals. We work in collaboration with other zoos to save species. Kali and her well-being is priceless."

Kali is on a special diet and takes anti-inflammatory medicine. The monkey weighs one pound and is microchipped.

"This is incredibly stressful for our staff, and we are hopeful someone will do the right thing and come forward," said McKnight.

Carter said the zoo is reviewing security protocols because of the incident.

"We are looking at those protocols to make sure this doesn’t happen again," Carter said on Tuesday.

Last April, two modified shotguns were stolen out of a safe on zoo grounds while the park was closed.

In 2009, a parrot, three squirrel monkeys, and goeldi were stolen from the zoo by three teens who used wire cutters to break in. Working on a tip, the animals were discovered in a shed behind an abandoned home nearby the zoo less than 24 hours later in sweltering heat, but alive.

"We are holding onto hope that the same thing that can happen nearly 10 years later," Carter said.

The zoo would not say what security measures are in place, and how it's improved security after 2009.