Belfast Telegraph

Chimpanzees escape from enclosure at Belfast Zoo

Chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure at Belfast Zoo on Saturday afternoon after making an improvised ladder from tree branches.

The BBC has reported that a chimpanzee was seen walking on a path with members of the public, while others attempted to escape.

Belfast Zoo spokesperson Alan Cairns said that the chimpanzees had been able to build the ladder after the trees in their enclosure had been weakened by storms.

He said they only remained outside their enclosure for a short time before returning as they were "quite cowardly".

"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.

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

"We may have to remove the trees or make them a smaller level, although we don't want to do that."

He confirmed that the chimpanzees were then locked in their enclosure to prevent a further breakout.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said that one chimpanzee left the enclosure before quickly returning.

"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.

The latest escape attempt comes after a red panda escaped from the zoo last month.

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

She was eventually found safe and well in Collinbridge, a residential area within a mile of the zoo's grounds.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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