Police officers are investigating the death of a vulture at the Dallas Zoo after officials said the bird’s passing was “suspicious.” Previously, officials from zoon announced over the weekend that one of their endangered lappet-faced vultures, known as Pin, from its Wilds of Africa habitat had died of an apparent wound. After looking into the bird’s demise, zoo officials are seeking help from their local police department.
“The circumstances of the death are unusual, and the death does not appear to be from natural causes,” a spokesperson from the Texas zoo wrote in an email. “We cannot share many details until Dallas PD has had more time to look into this matter.”
The zoo also said employees were “heartbroken over this tremendous loss.”
In addition, Dallas police revealed in a statement that an initial investigation concluded the animal was found dead in its enclosure. “The cause of death has not been determined at this time, but the death is being investigated as suspicious,” Dallas police said.
Moreover, police also said local veterinarians would perform a necropsy on the bird.
Pin, who was over 35 years old, was brought to the Dallas Zoo 33 years ago. According to officials, he was one of four lappet-faced vultures at the Dallas Zoo. The birds of prey get their name from their skin folds, also known as lappets, on either side of their neck.
Thankfully, the three remaining vultures, two male and one female are still in their enclosure.
In addition, Pin reportedly sired 11 offspring during his lifetime. His offspring now reside at Albuquerque BioPark, Zoo Atlanta, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Cincinnati Zoo, and the Dallas Zoo.
Vulture’s odd death becomes second strange incident at Dallas Zoo this month
Later, Pin even became a “grandfather” in 2020. His “grandkid” now calls the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore home.
According to zoo officials, the birds are native to Africa and parts of the Middle East. They also have a wingspan of up to nine feet and are the largest vulture in Africa.
Sadly, this vulture’s death is the second incident this month surrounding an animal under the protection of the Dallas Zoo. Earlier in January, one of the zoo’s clouded leopards vanished from its enclosure. Zoo officials later concluded that the big cat escaped from a hole in the netting around its pen. Police later announced they thought someone cut the hole on purpose.
Although officials later found the leopard, police continued investigating the odd incident. In the weeks after, officials with the zoo said they had added additional security cameras and implemented more on-site security patrols during non-operating hours.
“We will continue to implement and expand our safety and security measures to whatever level necessary to keep our animals and staff safe,” the zoo stated.