Now that Nova, the clouded leopard, has reunited with her sister at the Dallas Zoo, police are also investigating a second defaced enclosure on property that houses a small flock of spectacled langur monkeys.
On Saturday, zoo officials discovered a cut in a langur exhibit that looks like a habitat for clouded leopards. Authorities believe the interference was likely deliberate, but it is not clear if the incidents are related.
While Dallas police said none of the monkeys left the enclosure and appeared injured, their altered habitat has raised questions about what langurs are and whether they pose a danger to humans.
According to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, langurs are classified as an endangered species of leaf-eating monkeys. Spectacled langurs usually originate from the Malay Peninsula in countries such as Myanmar and Thailand.
In addition, they are considered Old World monkeys, native to Africa and Asia, meaning that they spend most of their time on the ground and not in trees, according to an entry from the Encyclopædia Britannica.
The Dallas Zoo is home to four spectacled or dark-leaved langurs, including one male and three females. They are between 21 and 27 years old, making them “very old to look at”.
Spectacled langurs are not known for their aggression, a Dallas Zoo spokesperson wrote in an email. They are generally considered friendly according to various wildlife sources; however, there have been several reports of monkeys biting and scratching humans in India.
In an email interview with educational website HowStuffWorks, San Diego Zoo director Dean Gibson said that langurs “coexist peacefully with humans” but can act territorially and be aggressive when necessary.
When 4-year-old Nova went missing for several hours on Friday, officials issued a blue alert as the 25-pound cat was deemed “not dangerous”. Harrison Edell, the zoo’s executive vice president of animal care and conservation, said Nova poses no danger to humans.
Another zoo official said that if the spectacled langur is lost from its habitat, it will also issue a blue color code.
Both incidents are being investigated and police have filed a criminal hooligan report.