DES MOINES, Iowa — Two incidents of vandalism and break-ins occurred at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative facility in less than a week.
On Thursday morning the facility’s guard shack window was shattered. On Saturday August 27 the initiative reported a break in where several pieces of equipment were stolen. No animals were injured in either of the incidents.
The Ape Initiative said in a statement to WHO 13 that the location of the facility on SE 45th Street, an under traveled area of the city, draws unwelcome visitors.
“Unfortunately, the traffic that does come near the facility too often does so in connection with unwelcome or criminal activities,” the initiative said.
There have been multiple cases of vandalism, trespassing, and criminal activity around the sanctuary for years. The sanctuary has had issues in the past with reckless drivers speeding down the dead end road the facility is located on. Two years ago an uninsured driver crashed into the facilities security fence and caused thousands of dollars in damage, the sanctuary said.
Both incidents are still under investigation and no arrests have been made.
The Ape Initiative is in the process of making a formal request to the city to close off SE 45th Street in the hope that it will dissuade unwelcome visitors.
The Ape Initiative is the only research facility in the world dedicated to the study and conservation of the endangered great ape species bonobos.