Houston Zoo officials not holding back after fence to pelican habitat was intentionally cut

ByKaren Alvarez KTRK logo
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Police find 2nd breach at Dallas Zoo after missing leopard fiasco
Police are now saying the similar breach was found at a monkey habitat. Luckily, none of those animals escaped.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An investigation is underway after keepers say someone cut a fence at The Houston Zoo.

The video above is about police finding a second breach at The Dallas Zoo after a leopard briefly escaped in January.

Officials said staff members discovered four inches of mesh sliced in the brown pelican habitat in the John P. McGovern Children's Zoo on Monday.

Zookeepers said in a statement that they believe the fence cutting was intentional, calling it an act of vandalism.

"I think it's unfortunate that we're taking advantage of the world that we live in when we should be protecting it," Meghann Slagle, a frequent zoo visitor, said.

"These animals represent their wild counterparts and are entirely dependent upon the expert care of our staff. Actions that threaten that care is unacceptable, dangerous, and criminal," the zoo said in a statement.

Animals in the exhibit were secure and unharmed, according to zoo officials. The zoo's security team reportedly called the officers with the Houston Police Department to look at the area.

ABC13 asked HPD if they believe this was an attempt at a copycat based on other incidents at other zoos. HPD said it's still too early in the investigation to tell and is working to gather more evidence.

Houston police have not disclosed if they are searching for any suspects.

In a statement, security said after examining other animals and exhibits, no other acts of vandalism were found.

This is not the only Texas zoo that has fallen victim to suspicious incidents. Houston's neighbors ramped up their security at The Dallas Zoo after repeated instances of loose animals, and police said in one case, an endangered vulture died of "unnatural causes."

Police arrested 24-year-old Davion Irvin and charged him with six counts of animal cruelty after allegedly stealing two monkeys from The Dallas Zoo earlier this month. Although no animals were harmed during the suspected vandalism at The Houston Zoo, zookeepers are still on edge.

"The Houston Zoo is prepared to prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law anyone who compromises the animals in our care. We will not tolerate the theft or endangerment of any of our animals, big or small," zoo officials said in a statement. "The (cut) appears to be the result of vandalism."

WATCH: Dallas Zoo finds clouded leopard that went missing all day

The animal named Nova did not appear to be seriously injured after a daylong disappearance on zoo grounds.