University police are currently investigating a crime that some may deem un-fur-givable: Someone has stolen a mounted lynx and polar bear head.
The University of California Police Dept. estimates that the stolen university property is worth a combined total of $2,300. According to a UCPD press release, the burglary of the mounted mammals occurred between April 15 and 18 at the Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration located in Harder Stadium South.
CBER Associate Director Mark Holmgren said an employee first became aware of the theft after she entered the building on Friday afternoon and noticed the mounted lynx had vanished from its designated shelf. Further investigation revealed the polar bear was also absent from the premises and that the back door of the building was left unlocked.
Holmgren said the preserved creatures were unique pieces of a very small and prized collection of taxidermy.
“The two specimens have been in our collection a long time and are very valuable in terms of scientific and educational value,” Holmgren said. “In monetary terms they are worth only a few thousand dollars but you just can’t replace a polar bear. They are an endangered species.”
Holmgren said CBER is not interested in prosecuting anyone responsible for the theft. Instead, he said that the department is encouraging any guilty party to return both animals to ensure equal educational opportunities for prospective students.
“I am not interested in taking criminal actions,” Holmgren said. “But I am concerned that future generations of students will not be allowed the learning experience provided by these specimens that the past two generations have had.”
UCPD spokesman Matt Bowman said while no reward is being offered at this time, campus police are currently exploring all possible leads to recover the stolen property.
The UCPD encourages any persons with information pertaining to the burglary to contact police at 805-893-3446 or file an anonymous report on the UCPD web site at www.police.ucsb.edu.