Man charged after allegedly stealing lemur from San Francisco Zoo

SAN FRANCISCO — A California man accused of breaking into the San Francisco Zoo last year and stealing a ring-tailed lemur made his first appearance in federal court on Monday.

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Cory John McGilloway, 31, of Los Angeles, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with violating the Endangered Species Act, SFGate reported. If convicted, McGilloway could face up to a year in prison and up to $50,000 in fines, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege that McGilloway, a Los Angeles resident, entered the zoo the night of Oct. 13, 2020, and took one of the zoo’s four ring-tailed lemurs, ABC News reported. The lemur, a 21-year-old male named Maki, was located days later when 5-year-old James Trinh noticed the animal in the playground of Hope Lutheran Day School in Daly City, located about five miles from the zoo.

Trinh has been lauded by city officials as a hero.

Owning a lemur, which is native to Madagascar, as a pet is illegal in California because of their endangered status, SFGate reported.

>> Maki returned: 5-year-old child helped find missing lemur

At the time of his rescue, Maki was hungry and dehydrated, the website reported. He is now back at the zoo’s Lipman Family Lemur Forest, which is the largest outdoor lemur habitat in North America, and is in good condition, according to zoo officials.

McGilloway appeared in court by a video link from a Los Angeles jail on Monday, ABC News reported.