Seven chimpanzees at the Kansas City Zoo went on an adventure Thursday afternoon after escaping from their enclosure. Apparently instigated by a clever ringleader, the chimps used what’s being described as a long branch or log to make their escape at around 3:30 p.m.
Zoo keepers used fruits and vegetables to lure the animals back into their habitat, but had to resort to using malted milk balls for the most reluctant ones. It took about an hour for zookeepers to secure all the apes, and zoo guests were keep confined indoors during that time.
Zoo director Randy Wisthoff says “one of them . . . either found or broke off a 5- or 6-foot log or branch, leaned it against a wall and clambered to the top. Then that chimpanzee — the ‘ringleader,’ Wisthoff called him — persuaded six friends to join him,” according to the Kansas City Star
and Associated Press.
“At one point, three of the seven chimps went over the wall into an area accessible only to zoo employees,” the Kansas City Star reports. Wisthoff said the public was never in danger. The largest of the escaped animals weighed about 150 pounds.
“On Friday, the 100-acre area normally occupied by 12 chimpanzees will be closed as employees check for security breaches,” the Star reports.
The zoo gave free passes to the guests who had to be locked down during Thursday’s escape.