Five-Year-Old Boy Saves Stolen Endangered Lemur

A lemur is back safe in its home, all thanks to five-year-old James Trinh, who spotted the animal in a parking lot.

Last week, tragedy struck at the San Francisco Zoo. A burglary occurred in the zoo’s primate enclosure and the zoo’s endangered lemur Maki was stolen from his home. The robbers chose 21-year-old Maki because with his older age and arthritis, he was easy to capture compared to his housemates. Typically, lemurs live 16-19 years in the wild, but can live up to 30 in captivity. Due to his age and health, Maki requires specialized care, which is provided at the zoo.

The burglars made their way into the enclosure through forced entry and while their motive has not been made public, people typically steal exotic animals to sell or keep as a pet. However, not all animals are pets.

“We understand that lemurs are adorable animals, but Maki is a highly endangered animal that requires special care. We are asking the public for help in his return,” Dr. Jason Watters, Executive Vice President of Animal Behavior and Wellness, told ABC 7. “As one of our oldest lemurs, Maki requires a specialized diet. Of the 19 lemurs here, at 21.5 years, he has exceeded median life expectancy of 16.7 years, but is also one of the slowest, and we believe, likely, the easiest to catch.”

The zoo announced the news via Twitter and offered up a $2,100 reward for Maki.

As the news spread, people starting keeping an eye out for Maki and within a couple days, the zoo received good news: a five-year-old boy spotted Maki in the Hope Lutheran Day School parking lot and yelled “There’s a lemur! There’s a lemur!”

Adults called the police, which took Maki back home. Luckily, Maki — who was born at the San Francisco Zoo — was found in good health.

Nearly a third of lemurs are endangered, with eight remaining known populations that have more than 100 lemurs, which is why it was so important to get Maki home safely.

As for the reward, it’s going to Hope Lutheran Church, where day school is held.


Written by Lindsay Patton