Zoo Boise confident security is sound

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- As visitors enjoyed the new home for Zoo Boise's three Patas monkeys, one out-of-towner was stunned to hear that a monkey was beaten to death during a break-in last November.

"The fact that someone would do that to a defenseless animal is just awful," said Zach Shafran of Kansas City.

Michael Watkins is serving at least a year in prison and undergoing treatment for killing the monkey.

After the crime, zoo boise ordered a top to bottom review of its security process.

"Back in January, we brought in folks from the Boise City Safety Department," said Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns. "We even brought in somebody from another accredited zoo for another safety audit, and we walked every inch of the zoo."

Some undisclosed minor changes were made but Burns says the security measures already in place were good ones although he says it's difficult to completely stop someone determined to break in.

"They break into banks," Burns said, "and banks are pretty secure."
Burns said some 350,000 people visit the zoo every year, so security has always been top of the mind -- security of the visitors, the staff, and of course, the animals.

And with a new home and grounds on which to roam, the future for these intriguing Patas monkeys looks safe and sound.