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4-inch gash found in mesh fence surrounding brown pelican enclosure at Houston Zoo, officials say

A four-inch gash was found in the mesh around the brown pelican habitat at the Children's Zoo.

HOUSTON — On Monday, Houston Zoo keepers noticed something was off at the brown pelican habitat at the John P. McGovern Children's Zoo: the mesh surrounding the enclosure had a gash in it.

The keepers checked on the birds, which were "secure and unharmed" before alerting the Houston Zoo's security team.

The zoo said the four-inch gap appears to be the result of vandalism and they're ready to prosecute anyone who messes with the animals "to the fullest extent of the law."

All of the other animal enclosures were checked after the hole in the fence was found but nothing else was found. Zoo officials also alerted the Houston Police Department, which sent officers out to check the area.

"We will not tolerate the theft or endangerment of any of our animals, big or small. These animals represent their wild counterparts and are entirely dependent upon the expert care of our staff. Actions that threaten that care are unacceptable, dangerous, and criminal," the zoo said in a statement.

The discovery was made on the heels of recent bizarre situations happening at zoos across the country.

In Dallas, a man was arrested and charged in connection with the disappearance of a clouded leopard as well as missing emperor tamarin monkeys. Dallas Zoo officials also said a vulture was recently found with what appeared to be a stab wound and some fish and other items were believed to have been stolen.

A red panda recently escaped from the San Diego Zoo but was captured hours later.

A zookeeper was attacked by a black bear at the Jacksonville Zoo in December.

At Zoo Atlanta last month, a hawk that had been around for more than 20 years was killed after a fight with a "wild animal," officials said.

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