San Francisco Zoo officials rewarded a 5-year-old boy who helped recapture the endangered primate ring-tailed lemur with a lifetime membership. James Trinh got the reward for spotting the lemur, Maki who is 21 after it went missing on Wednesday. Zookeepers found evidence that the lemur didn’t walk away on his own and someone had forced entry at his enclosure.
The theft of Maki, who is arthritic, made headlines on Wednesday in San Francisco and beyond. Five-year-old Trinh was unaware of the headlines when leaving his preschool on Thursday in Daly City. About 5 miles from the zoo, Trinh exclaimed, “There’s a lemur! There’s a lemur!” Cynthia Huang, director of the Hope Lutheran Day School, told the media on Friday according to news agency Associated Press. Initially, Huang was skeptical about the child's claims. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” she said.
Maki scurried from the parking lot into the school’s playground and took shelter in a miniature playhouse. The school called the police who quickly alerted animal control and zoo officials. The children, teachers and parents watched as caretakers arrived and coaxed the lemur into a transport cage, Huang said. Also on Thursday, police took 30-year-old Cory McGilloway into custody for stealing the ring-tailed lemur, San Francisco police said.
Soon after the lemur was safely rescued and returned to the zoo the San Francisco Zoo officials gave an update about Maki over its Twitter handle. It said "Our Maki's getting stronger every day and slowly getting reacquainted with his family! Stay tuned for our “Welcome Back, Maki, Day of Celebration!”". Maki was born at the zoo in 1999 and has an offspring in the enclosure. The outdoor lemur habitat houses seven different lemur species native to Madagascar and many are endangered.
Our Maki's getting stronger every day and slowly getting reacquainted with his family! Stay tuned for our “Welcome Back, Maki, Day of Celebration!” pic.twitter.com/gXHFdU5Mhc— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) October 19, 2020