Authorities search for pair of missing gibbons
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Nebraska woman is pleading for her gibbons back. The primates, which are an endangered species, were stolen from her Midwest home. Authorities believe they could be in Fort Myers.
Midwest resident Nancy Stephens adores her gibbons. Two-year-old Caylee and Three-year-old Cody wear clothes, diapers and they sit in high chairs. She says they're an irreplaceable part of her family.
"They're just darling," said Stephens, 63, of Doniphan, NE. "They're my life. They're my kids."
The pair share a room and each have their own crib. Stephens says they've been playful and loving since they were babies.
"They love us," she added.
The Hall County Sheriff's Office in Nebraska says between Sunday night and early Monday morning, the primates were stolen. Strong leads indicate they could be in Fort Myers. Stephens believes an acquaintance took them. The only person who's seen their room and knows their routine. Stephens says he's en route to Fort Myers after his job transferred him here.
"I have been devastated," explained Stephens. "I haven't slept. I haven't ate. I haven't done anything but sit and cry."
Stephens admits her gibbons aren't chipped. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) says although that could make it harder for authorities to identify them, chances are someone will spot the two feet tall apes.
"The likelihood of anybody being able to own one of those animals, without somebody noticing that there are gibbons in the neighborhood, and they weren't there before, is slim to none," said Jorge Pino, a spokesman with the FWC.
Stephens says her babies are likely frightened. She hopes whoever took them will do the honorable thing.
"If anyone has a heart, they'll come forth," said Gibbons.
Stephens is offering a $2,000 reward for her missing gibbons. If you have any information about them, contact the Lee County Sheriff's office at (239) 477-1000 or the Hall County Sheriff's Office at (308) 385-5200.