Police search for valuable monkey snatched from Palm Beach Zoo

The Goeldi's monkey species is popular on the illicit pet trade.

Police are searching for a tiny monkey believed to have been stolen from a zoo in West Palm Beach, Florida.

A 12-year-old female Goeldi's monkey named Kali was last seen in her enclosure at the Palm Beach Zoo on Sunday evening. Kali, who weighs just one pound, is believed to have gone missing early Monday morning around 1 a.m. local time when the zoo was closed, according to zoo spokesperson Naki Carter.

A preliminary investigation has led zoo officials and local police to believe that Kali was snatched by a member of the public, though it was not immediately clear how someone was able to gain access to her secure enclosure. Carter said there are surveillance cameras in the area but wouldn't comment on the footage itself, citing the integrity of the ongoing probe.

"We have some very strong leads into how someone did gain access to the zoo after hours overnight and obtained access to that habitat to take her," Carter told reporters at a press conference Monday evening.

Kali, who is micro-chipped, is fed a special diet and given medication daily for "anti-inflammatory issues," according to Carter.

"It is of urgency that we have her returned to her zoo family," Carter said. "Every minute is of the essence."

The Goeldi's monkey species, which have been known to live into their early twenties, is popular on the illicit pet trade.

"Since [Kali] is a female, as far as breeding is concerned, she's holding a pretty high value, upwards of $10,000," Carter told reporters. "That is a very somber thought for us to have to be thinking about and contending with. But it is, when we think of motive, it's where our mindsets went immediately."

The West Palm Beach Police Department is urging anyone with information to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477, which is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for the primate's safe return.

The Palm Beach Zoo is also looking to offer a reward, according to Carter.

"We are holding on to hope," she said.