Rare lemurs and tortoises were stolen from a research institute in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on two occasions in May, the police and officials of the institute said Saturday.
On May 15, a researcher who arrived in the morning at the Research Institute of Evolutionary Biology discovered that a ring-tailed lemur and three radiated tortoises had been stolen, they said.
Sometime between the afternoon of May 22 and the following morning, a brown lemur, a ruffed lemur and two black lemurs were also taken from the facility. In both cases, the locks on the doors to the animals’ cages had been forced, they said.
The police are investigating the incidents as theft. Commercial trade in the lemurs and tortoises is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The institute, which has close ties with the Tokyo University of Agriculture, raises animals, including about 100 monkeys, for research into their evolution.
The institute was unmanned when the two incidents occurred.
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