Belfast Zoo Visitors ‘Petrified’ As Escaped Chimpanzees Roam Free

Sergio Conner
February 12, 2019

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.

The animals got out after making an improvised ladder from tree branches.

Zookeepers say a group of chimpanzees used branches weakened by a storm to make a ladder and escape from their enclosure at the Belfast Zoo.

Some incredibly mischievous chimps put on quite a display for visitors at the Belfast Zoo over the weekend by attempting a big break from their enclosure - a daring effort that was captured on video as one managed to get beyond a wall.

Shocked families recorded the moment the great ape pulled itself up the wall and began to roam free along the pathways in Belfast Zoo.

The leader of the Green Party in NI has said questions must be asked about safety at Belfast Zoo after a chimpanzee escaped from its enclosure.

They filmed the entire escape from start to finish, and Ms Monaghan said it was a day she would "never forget".

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She said that she was "petrified" when one of the chimps climbed out of the enclosure and started walking around it.

Elaine Monaghan's grandchildren were at the zoo at the time.

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

"While Belfast Zoo carries out good work in terms of conservation and breeding programmes, that is simply not good enough and we need to ensure it doesn't happen again", she added.

Mr Cairns added that the enclosure now trees to make it feel more natural for the chimps. Cairns said the zoo would reconsider the layout of the chimpanzee enclosure.

Zookeeper Alyn Cairns blamed the recent storm for the escape, but told the BBC that the chimpanzees did not enjoy their taste of freedom.

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

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