Man Faces Jail Time, Fines After Stealing Endangered Lemur From Zoo

(Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Caroline Kucera Contributor
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A 31-year-old man is accused of stealing a rare lemur from the San Francisco Zoo, a move that could land him behind bars for up to a year for violating the Endangered Species Act. 

Cory John McGilloway of Los Angeles, California, allegedly snatched the ring-tailed lemur from the Lipman Family Lemur Forest at the zoo on Oct. 13, 2020, federal prosecutors said Monday, according to ABC 7. Upon realizing the animal was missing, the zoo, “discovered forced entry to the animal enclosure where the lemur was housed,” a San Francisco Police said.

The zoo offered a $2,100 reward for the return of the “highly endangered” animal a 21-year-old male named Maki — which requires “special care,” ABC 7 reported. 

McGilloway was reportedly spotted two days after the alleged theft walking a lemur, which resembled Maki, with a leash on Treasure Island, two miles off the shore of San Francisco.

The Daily Caller previously reported that the lemur was then located on a church playground in Daly City, approximately four miles from San Francisco. Maki was alone, hungry and agitated when the Daly City Police contained the animal and returned him to zoo staff, ABC 7 reported. 

Police located and arrested McGilloway later that night in San Rafael, after spotting the man driving a stolen dump truck, according to prosecutors. 

An arraignment for McGilloway was reportedly set in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday. He faces one misdemeanor count of violating the Endangered Species Act, a federal offense that could result in $50,000 in fines and up to a year in prison if proven guilty, according to ABC 7. (RELATED: Suspects Arrested In $75,000 Lizard Heist)

The San Francisco Zoo is home to four ring-tailed lemurs, which are native to Madagascar. Nearly a third of all lemurs in Madagascar are “critically endangered,” according to ABC7. Ring-tailed lemurs are currently listed as one of the species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species