Staff and animal lovers at the Greater Vancouver Zoo said goodbye to Jocko, the spider monkey who was killed when thieves broke into his cage, in an emotional memorial service yesterday.
Children’s drawings that read “I’m sorry about your monkey” lined the empty cage and flowers were left in bunches on the ground.
Jocko died of a fractured skull and his mate, Mia, was kidnapped when someone broke into their cage with bolt cutters.
Jody Henderson, marketing and promotions manager for the zoo, said Jocko was very social and loving. His death has been tough on staff.
“There’s a deafening silence around the zoo now,” she said, breaking down in tears. “We all notice it and it’s because there’s somebody missing — our dear friend Jocko and his mate Mia.
“Each day I parked my car at the front of the zoo he was out chirping and greeting me. We will miss you forever, Jocko.”
Menita Prasad, an animal care keeper at the zoo, said Jocko recognized his keepers from 10 metres away and called out to them.
“He loved his toys and he loved looking through his kaleidoscope. When the keepers were in there cleaning out his enclosure he loved stealing tools,” she said, crying.
“I just can’t believe we’re never going to hear them call to us ever again.”
Staff also appealed to whomever took Mia to bring her home. The zoo will match public donations up to $3,000 as a reward for information leading to her safe return.