Chimps use branch to make ladder to escape Belfast Zoo

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees

A group of radical liberationist chimpanzees attempted to break free from their enclosure at the Belfast Zoo in Belfast, Northern Ireland this Saturday.

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

He said the zoo would conduct a safety review and possibly remove some of the trees, whose limbs might facilitate future breakouts.

Several chimpanzees climbed up to the top of the wall of their enclosure with the help of a large tree branch, and one was seen along a public footpath in the zoo, going by footage posted on social media.

Image copyright Chantal Baxter Image caption One chimpanzee went for a bit of a wander.

The branch used by the escapees fell into the enclosure due to the high winds delivered by Storm Erik.

Belfast City Council, which runs the zoo, said the chimpanzee was only out of the pen for a brief amount of time.

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Danielle Monaghan said she was "petrified" the chimp might "attack or take the kids". But she said the animal was not aggressive and "just watched" and therefore the experience had been "amazing". "Had it been me I'd have run for the hills".

In January, a red panda called Amber went missing from the zoo overnight before being discovered in a nearby garden. 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".

"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.

Other chimps remained in trees on the wall of the enclosure while some zoo guests were shocked at the sight.

Zoo employee Alyn Cairns said the chimps were "quite cowardly" and returned to their enclosure on their own.

"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.

The zookeeper blamed recent stormy weather for weakening trees inside their enclosure.

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