Chimps Escape From Kansas City Zoo: Ringleader Uses Branch To Escape Enclosure, Beckons 6 Others To Follow

By Gabrielle Jonas on April 12, 2014 12:07 PM EDT

Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee (Photo: Flickr.com/Dhammika)

A chimpanzee broke a tree limb to use it to scale his pen's wall at the Kansas City Zoo, zoo officials said. He then lured six others to follow him out of the penlate afternoon Thursday, causing the zoo to go into a lockdown whereby no one was allowed to leave or come in.

One of the chimpanzees was able to break roughly a six foot tree limb that was then used as a ladder to climb ontop of the outdoor enclosure wall, the zoo said in a press release. That chimp then enticed six other chimps to join the first chimp. The chimps never left zoo grounds, nor did they ever leave the immediate exhibit area.

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Zoo staff circled their wagons with their vehicles, and eventually lured the chimps back to their own building with food, including chocolate malted milk balls, according to KMBC.com. "Within roughly 1 1/2 hours all chimps were safely secured inside their holding building and the "Code Red" was pronounced all clear," according to the press release. During that time, zoo visitors were asked to stay indoors "to allow Zoo staff to thoroughly examine the entire exhibit and to check for any additional tree limbs that could quite possibly create any issues."

The zoo was placed on lockdown. Since dinner was nearing, zoo keepers lured the chimps back to the pen using their usual meal of ca.rrots, celery,and lettuce. However, one chimp was still reluctant to go home, so a keeper used a bag of malted milk balls to get him back in.

"We do not know when the branch was broken," Julie x told the International Science Times in an email, nor how high up the the chimp was in the tree when he broke the branch. Zoo officials do know he enticed the other chimps and they just didn't follow, " based on video from the TV station helicopters and guest reports. They're not all members of the same family, she said. She coldn't say how many feet from their enclosure they roamed. " They were on the wall barrier and not far," on a wall surrounding their three-acre exhibit she said. She would not answer whether she thought they were having fun; how big the enclosure was or whether she thought they had spring fever.

Visitors to the zoo were kept inside until the chimps were caught. The exhibit is closed Friday as employees seek to close security gaps. Apparently, t's the one in the chimps' synapses they can't close.

In 2004, chimps escaped from the same zoo after a storm struck down a tree and they were able to escape thorugh a through the resulting broken wall.

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