Maki, the missing ring-tailed lemur who was believed stolen on Tuesday from the San Francisco Zoo, has been found safe and sound and wasn't yet sold off on the black market for endangered species.
A group of small kids at a daycare at Hope Lutheran Day School in Daly City apparently spotted the 21-year-old lemur Thursday evening, as he was "hopping around" on their play structures. As ABC 7 reports, five-year-old James Trinh of San Francisco may have been the first to spot him — and they have an adorable interview with the child in which screams "Call the zookeeper!"
As the Chronicle reports, this wasn't the first time a lemur had gone missing from a California zoo, and there is apparently a thriving black market for the endangered animals as pets in places like Florida and Texas.
It seemed likely that Maki had been abducted for the purpose of selling him for a profit, but perhaps the thief got freaked out by all the media coverage and dropped him off at the playground?
The lemur was found this afternoon at my kid's day care, Hope Lutheran, in Daly City! pic.twitter.com/mDEl1hgScw— Sam Trinh (@TrinnerChknDnnr) October 16, 2020
The Daly City Police Department posted photos of Maki being transported back home to the zoo, where he lives in a multi-species habitat with other lemurs in the Lipman Family Lemur Forest.
We found Maki, the stolen lemur from @sfzoo!! Around 5pm, we got a report he was in the playground area of the Hope Lutheran Church. We contained him until staff from the zoo took him back home. Here is Officer Haas with Maki.— Daly City Police (@DalyCityPD) October 16, 2020
We are grateful Maki is home safely! pic.twitter.com/U5rB2RnIxC
The burglary remains under investigation, as police and zoo officials believe that someone forced their way into the enclosure and took the animal.
Maki seems healthy after this misadventure. But as the chair of the SF Zoological Board, Ed Poole, tells ABC 7, there is some concern still about the traumatic experience Maki just endured, given his advanced age (these lemurs typically live to around 16). "We certainly absolutely hope for the best for Maki," Poole said.
It's not clear if the reward money being offered by the zoo will go to any of the kids who spotted him yesterday.
Sidebar: Does anyone remember back in 2000 when mother and daughter koalas were stolen from the SF Zoo by a couple of teenage boys who wanted to impress their girlfriends with exotic pets for Christmas?
Meet the kiddos who made sure Maki, the San Francisco Zoo lemur, stayed safe when he showed up on their school playground last night in Daly City.— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) October 16, 2020
We love you Maki! Get better soon! pic.twitter.com/7tcYS9a4Y4
Photo: SF Zoo