Crime and Safety

The suspicious death of an endangered vulture at the Dallas Zoo is seeking a $10,000 reward.

The Dallas Zoo is offering a $10,000 reward for information about how one of the endangered vultures died in “highly suspicious” circumstances.

The muzzled vulture, named Pin, was about 35 years old and was found dead in his habitat Saturday morning with a “wound” on his body, the zoo said at a press conference.

An autopsy on the animal confirmed that the death was not natural, and the police are considering many possibilities, including that the death and other strange happenings at the zoo could have been their own doing.

“We’re also very concerned about the idea that someone could have done this on purpose,” said Harrison Adell of the Dallas Zoo.

Park officials did not elaborate on the nature of the injury, but said that anyone who could cause harm to “Pin”, as he was called, had to overcome the barriers surrounding his enclosure.

Vulture in his enclosure
Pin the Vulture was killed under suspicious circumstances, and the Dallas Zoo promised to find the culprit.
Dallas Zoo

“At this point, everything is under suspicion – internal, external – we are considering every option,” said zoo president Gregg Hudson.

“I have been working at the zoo for over 30 years and have never experienced a situation like the one that happened on Saturday. This is unprecedented and very disturbing,” he added.

The police were called not only because of the death of a bird, but also because last week at the same zoo a leopard escaped from its habitat. Officials believe that someone deliberately opened a wild cat enclosure, as well as another that housed a monkey. The clouded leopard Nova was later found.

Gregg Hudson at the press conference
Dallas Zoo President Gregg Hudson

“If it’s related to something previously associated with the clouded leopard, it definitely crosses some kind of barrier,” Hudson added. “It really goes from malicious to criminal intent. This is dangerous”.

Investigators are reviewing footage from more than 100 cameras at the zoo. To prevent the perpetrator from striking again, additional security measures were put in place, including equipment provided by law enforcement on loan.

Additional personnel and security have also been added to operate at night.

    Leopard growls on a branch
Nova, the zoo’s clouded leopard, has also been released from its cage.
Dallas Zoo

Given the vulture’s status as a protected species, US Fish and Wildlife joined the investigation.

“This is a species that could become extinct in our lifetime,” Edell explained.

Pin has lived at the Dallas Zoo for 33 years and is one of only 27 members of his species living in U.S. wildlife institutions.

Local Police at the Dallas Zoo
Local Police at the Dallas Zoo

Dallas police are asking anyone with information to call 214-670-7694, adding that those responsible may face felony charges.

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