Two teenagers face charges for stealing nearly a dozen exotic animals. Those animals nearly died.

But as Weijia Jiang shows us, they are expected to make a full recovery.

At the Carrie Murray Nature Center, there’s plenty to make noise about.

Zena is the iguana that was stolen.

Wildlife rehab specialist PJ Boyce is not just celebrating Zena’s return, but also the comeback of five boxed turtles, two species of geckos, two baby chameleons, a corn snake—and , yes, even a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

“We thought most likely we were never going to see them again,” Boyce said.

Late Tuesday, police recovered the exotic animals a mile away at a townhome on Clifton Avenue. They say a group of juveniles brought them there after breaking into the center through a window on Sunday and Monday nights.

“We were expecting the worse,” Boyce said.

Employees say the stolen animals are not dangerous, but they are vulnerable. They need special care to survive.

“They have to be kept at particular temperatures, levels of humidity,” Boyce said. “They have to have certain vitamins. They have health issues.”

In fact, all animals brought here were either injured or orphaned. For decades, staffers have used them to teach Baltimore kids about wildlife.

“To take them is not only hurting themselves and that animal, but hurting the whole community,” Boyce said.

Some of the animals barely made it. But Boyce says all that were taken are now doing just fine.

Security at Carrie Murray has been upgraded. All the windows are locked, and the alarm is set.

Police expect to charge three more teenagers involved in this case.


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