Two elderly exotic birds in need of special care were stolen from a California zoo during a bold overnight heist, officials said.
The hunt is on for a suspect who cut a lock at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Australian Asian Aviary at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday and stuffed the two threatened species – a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo and a Nicobar pigeon — into a duffel bag before fleeing.
“Our bird zookeepers and entire team are deeply concerned for the safety of both of these animals,” general curator Lyn Meyers said in a statement. “Due to their age, both require special care and treatment.”
Both birds are legal to own, but Nicobar pigeons are listed as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, while lesser-sulplur crested cockatoos are critically endangered, zoo officials said.
The zoo has reached out to local veterinarians and pet stores so they’re aware that the birds are missing, official said.
“We are appealing to anyone in the community to provide any information that would result in the return of these two beloved animals,” the zoo’s CEO, Scott Barton, said in a statement.
Zoo officials reported the theft to Fresno police, which is handling the ongoing investigation. A message seeking additional comment was not immediately returned early Monday.
Anyone with information about the bird thefts is asked to call zoo officials at (559) 470-6872.