Dozens of rare animals were stolen from a wildlife sanctuary in Miami-Dade, Florida, following a fake Craigslist ad that said the sanctuary was shutting down and urged people to “help yourself.”
“Free exotic animals. We’re a sanctuary going out of business. Go around back and help yourself,” read the advertisement.
The burglars took the message too seriously and drove to “We Care Wildlife Sanctuary” and casually walked off seven ring-tailed lemurs, five marmosets, four monkeys, seven birds and 13 tortoises.
Sanctuary owners now fear the animals might die because of inadequate care.
“We’ve been violated. I don’t think these animals are going to be taken care of. The stress alone could give some of them heart attacks,” said a sanctuary volunteer, Cindy Robert.
She added, “There’s an umbrella cockatoo with food regression because the original owners weren’t taught how to wean her, and if you don’t feed her properly and soak her food she won’t eat — she’ll starve to death in a few days. We’re just heartbroken.”
This disappearance of valuable animals is being treated by the Miami-Dade police department as a theft.
Interestingly, they only took exotic animals that were the most valuable and left behind raccoons, horses and goats.
“They took the dollar animals. They knew exactly what they wanted. They left the raccoons, they left the horses, they left the goats, and there were some birds nesting in the tree that they didn’t see because it was pitch black. We did get to keep those, at least,” said Robert.
She also added that the burglars had pre-planned the entire incident as they removed bolts from the gates instead of breaking locks and unfortunately security cameras at the premises were also out of order.
There is a reward of $1,000 to anyone who helps get the animals back.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader