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Palm Beach Zoo says monkey stolen from Palm Beach Zoo recovered, in good health

Goeldi's monkey valued at $10,000
Kali the monkey back in her cage at the Palm Beach Zoo on Feb. 13, 2019
Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 11, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — 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.

Dr. Genevieve Dumonceaux, Director of Animal Health at the zoo, said at a news conference Kali is in good health but dehydrated, and will be reunited with her mate, Quito, in a few days.

According to a news release from the zoo, detectives returned Kali to zoo officials shortly before midnight Wednesday. The West Palm Beach Police Department said police detectives found Kali in Palm Beach County, but it's unclear 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.

West Palm Beach police released this statement to WPTV on Wednesday:

"We know the public wants to know more about what happened, which is why were are moving as quickly as possible to gather facts. At this time, however, we do not have an update as we continue investigate the incident."

Zoo officials say the 12-year-old Goeldi's monkey, which weighs about 1 pound, suffers from inflammation. Kali requires a specialized diet and anti-inflammatory medicine.

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."

A $6,000 reward had been offered for Kali's safe return.


The zoo gave WPTV access to Kali's enclosure on Tuesday, where a hole in the mesh was visible.

"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.