Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Chimpanzees escape enclosure at Belfast Zoo using 'improvised ladder'

Chimpanzees escape enclosure at Belfast Zoo using 'improvised ladder'

Elaine Monaghan posted videos of the escape to Twitter, but says it was her daughter and her partner who shot the footage.

She said she was "scared" but called it an "amazing" experience and said the chimp appeared to be "very calm".

"I was petrified, obviously, having the kids and I tried not to show fear but inside I was a bit like what happens if it attacks us or tries to take the kids or runs over", zoo guest Danielle Monaghan told the BBC. This tracks, as I can't imagine I'd very much enjoy being screamed at by a odd child either.

Zoo manager Alyn Cairns told the BBC that they believed that recent storms had weakened a tree in their enclosure, allowing them to snap off branches and construct the ladder.

This is not the first breakout to happen in the zoo in recent memory, with a red panda managing to escape overnight thanks to an electrical fault in an electric fence that makes up part of its enclosure.

We also know from said trilogy that most of the apes are reasonable but are just afraid to trust humans and rightfully so, we're the worst.

"They started walking out of the hut one by one, it was like they organised what they were going to do", he said.

She said she was happy the incident had ended well for her family.

"They were shocked and they told us to "get the kids and get out right now", he said.

Mr Cairns added that the enclosure now trees to make it feel more natural for the chimps.

Last June, two lions, two tigers and a jaguar escaped their enclosures in a flooded German zoo for several hours. "We just walked past it and it was absolutely grand".

Cairns added that the zoo's chimpanzees were "quite cowardly" and after some time headed back into the safety of their enclosure all on their own.

"We like things to be natural in their enclosure, to have trees in it, but we will review it", he said.

In November previous year, a snow leopard was shot dead after the animal escaped from its enclosure in Dudley Zoo in Britain.

It was quickly found and returned to the zoo.

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