A group of intelligent primates turned a felled tree into made a ladder by tree branches fallen from a storm, to escape from their enclosure at Belfast Zoo, which raises safety concerns.
Some video was filmed on by visitors showing several primates were climbing over the wall and calmly around the attraction in Northern Ireland on Saturday, with one walking down a path outside the enclosure.
In footage posted on social media, a child can be heard exclaiming: “Don’t escape, you bad little gorilla.”
Elaine Monaghan posted videos of the escape to Twitter, but says it was her daughter and her partner who shot the footage. She wrote that one of the animals came close to her grandchildren, with “Belfast Zoo trying to make out it wasn’t a big deal.”
She said: “Why weren’t the enclosures checked? This could have ended very badly. This is how close it came to my grandchildren.”
Belfast Zoo said Saturday’s incident was a “highly unusual event”. This happened, after an endangered red panda cub went missing last month, when electric fences failed and was discovered by a man in his driveway.
A zookeeper said “They took advantage of damage caused by stormy weather to stage a breakout that shocked visitors caught on their mobile phones”.
Manager Alyn Cairns said the chimpanzees soon returned to the enclosure of their own accord.He told“They’re intelligent primates and know they’re not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves.”
“We like things to be natural in their enclosure, to have trees in it, but we will review it.”
A spokeswoman said, “Belfast Zoo would like to thank members of the public who helped raise the alarm as zookeepers moved in to return the animal to its enclosure.”
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