A keeper at the Greater Vancouver Zoo said it looks like somebody broke into the monkey cage yesterday morning looking for animals and things went sour.
"We think that they broke in with the intention of probably stealing a monkey or two, and things went a little bit wacky," said animal care manager Jamie Dorgan.
He said Jocko, the male monkey killed in last night's break-in, was likely defending his territory and ended up dead. Zoo workers don't yet know how Jocko was killed, but trauma is the most probable cause, Dorgan said.
Mia, Jocko's female mate, was abducted from the enclosure following the killing. John Creviston, administrator of Wild Arc - an animal rehabilitation centre, said the abductor may be hoping to sell Mia to a private buyer.
"Somebody might be thinking there's a market but this is not, I would guess, not an organized thing."
There is also the possibility that the thief wants Mia as an exotic pet, but this, Creviston said, would be unadvisable.
"They're a little bit more than most people are able to deal with. Especially one that's essentially wild."
Dorgan described Jocko as a "friendly guy" who was loved by everybody.