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Vandals let zoo birds fly the coop; 2 of 3 spotted on zoo grounds

  • COURTESY: HAWAII NEWS NOW
    Tommy Higashino points to the area where vandals damaged a wire bird cage at the Honolulu Zoo.
  • COURTESY: HAWAII NEWS NOW
    A signboard at the Honolulu Zoo shows a brown buff-headed ground dove, one of three exotic birds that escaped from damaged cages.
  • COURTESY: HAWAII NEWS NOW
    A signboard shows a red Solomon Island eclectus parrot, one of three birds that escaped from a cage at the Honolulu Zoo.
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Honolulu Zoo officials say two of the three exotic birds that escaped when vandals cut holes in their cages this week have been seen in trees on the zoo grounds.

Tommy Higashino, acting zoo director, said the 24 bird cages were cut between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and three birds escaped.

Two of  birds — a brown Ground Dove and a red Eclectus female parrot — have been seen on the grounds of the 42-acre zoo in Waikiki.

Still unaccounted for is a gray Tawny Frogmouth.

Higashino said the three birds are valued at $1,200.

Keoki Miyamoto, director of the city Department of Enterprise Services, said 24 cages were vandalized when small holes were cut in their cages.

Higashino said patches have been placed over the holes to prevent more birds from escaping. "The screens were cut and pushed in to allow the birds to escape," Higashino said. Zoo officials were trying to determine how to recapture the birds.

He said it will cost $500 for a permanent patches or $15,000 to $24,000 to replace all 24 screens.

Miyamoto said zoo officials are investigating whether the damage was caused by vandals or a disgruntled zoo employee.

Last year, police arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion that he etched his name on the glass windows of several exhibits on March 17, 2010.

Police said the boy, 14, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree criminal property damage, and then released pending an investigation.

Zoo officials said it costs $1,700 to repair the damage to the glass of several exhibits at the zoo’s African savannah exhibit.

Among the glass damaged were those in front of the cheetah, komodo dragon, Nile crocodile, baboon and wild hunting dog exhibits.

Miyamoto said the zoo has increased security measures. He asked that anyone who has information about this week’s vandalism or has seen the birds to call the zoo at 971-7174 or 971-7171 after the zoo closes at 4:30 p.m.

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