Marmosets stolen from Johor Zoo

JOHOR BARU - The Johor Zoo's latest attraction - two pairs of common marmosets - have been stolen after thieves broke into the enclosure where the monkeys were kept.

The small monkeys (pic) with relatively long tails are valued at about RM8,000 (S$3,096) each and could fetch up to double that on the black market, said sources.

The marmosets, which are 18.5cm to 18.8cm tall, had been on display at the zoo for the past several months.

A zoo guard discovered the theft at about 9.40am on Tues­day.

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Sulaiman Salleh said zoo authorities have lodged a report and investigations are ongoing.

He urged pet shop operators to alert the police if anyone tries to sell them the marmosets.

This is not the first time animals have been stolen from the zoo; several birds were taken from it in the past.

In Kuala Lumpur, 69 animals have died in Zoo Negara between January and August while the zoo recorded 167 new births during the same period.

Natural Resources and Envi­ronment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the animals died due to diseases, nutrition problems, trauma and neonatal complications.

"The zoo tries its best to minimise (such) deaths and treat injured animals.

"We will continue conservation efforts for the various wildlife species in the zoo," he said.

Palanivel was answering a question by DAP's Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng in Parliament yesterday on the statistics of visitors to Zoo Negara, the Giant Panda Conservation Centre there and the mortality rate of the zoo animals.

He said the two giant pandas on loan to Malaysia from China, Xing Xing and Liang Liang, attracted 127,265 visitors from June 27, when the centre was opened, until Sept 30.

"Zoo Negara received a total of 217,746 visitors over the same period," he said.

The Government, he added, would give the zoo an allocation of RM15mil next year for upgrading works and conservation efforts.

The pandas are on loan for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.