Chimpanzees escape from enclosure at Belfast Zoo



Footage captured by the zoo shows the chimpanzees using branches that fell during Storm Erik to climb up over the wall of their enclosure.

The intelligent primates turned a tree into a makeshift ladder and scaled high walls surrounding their pen in Northern Ireland.

While some of the chimpanzees stayed on top of the wall, another made a decision to explore the grounds.

"They're intelligent primates and know they're not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves", Mr Cairns told the BBC.

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

"Having four children with them they tried to act as calmly as possible so as not to frighten the kids".

Endangered Himalayan native cub Amber made her escape after two electricity fences failed at the zoo.

Other chimpanzees were filmed sitting atop the walls.

"It may have been a different story if it had been aggressive but it absolutely wasn't".

"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", the spokesperson said.

"We may have to remove the trees or make them a smaller level, although we don't want to do that". "We just walked past it and it was absolutely grand", she told the BBC. "Had it been me I'd have run for the hills".

Alan Cairns, from the zoo, added that chimpanzees were locked into their inner enclosure following the break-out.

Belfast City Council, which runs the zoo, said: "Zookeepers were present as the chimpanzee quickly returned from an adjacent wall to the rest of the group inside the enclosure".

He said the zoo's chimps were "quite cowardly" so went back into their enclosure themselves during the incident.

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