Chimpanzees fashion ladder out fallen tree branch to escape Belfast Zoo

Written by on February 10, 2019 in Critter MIA, Critters vs Humans vs Critters - No comments

Chimpanzees at the Belfast Zoo took a downed branch as opportunity to make a great escape — sort of.

Zoo visitors Danielle Monaghan and Dean McFaul filmed the incredible incident as one chimp after another used a fallen tree limb to hop up onto the exterior wall of the chimpanzee enclosure.

The chimps actually carried the branch over to the wall and propped it up, Monaghan explained later. She said she was both fascinated and “absolutely petrified” by what they saw as the zoo was closing.

“Don’t escape you bad little gorilla,” her daughter could be heard saying off camera in the video.

The animals climbed up onto a wall, and then at least one briefly wandered along an pathway.

The couple continued filming as the chimp went for a walk.

“Stay there dude,” McFaul can be heard saying as the chimp stops to take a break.

The videos are incredible.

Zoo-goer Chantal Baxter also filmed part of the encounter.

“Got a bit more than we bargained for at Belfast Zoo today,” she posted on Facebook Saturday, “when the chimps decided to escape and take a stroll 🐵 #belfastzoo.”

For a brief time the chimps were on the loose.

While some visitors were frightened, the chimps actually didn’t bother anybody.

“It’s fair to say we got our money’s worth,” Baxter told Belfast Live.

Alyn Cairns, a zoo spokesperson, told the BBC storms weakened trees in and around the enclosure sending branches into the enclosure.

The chimps went back into their exhibit themselves.

“They’re intelligent primates and know they’re not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves,” he explained.

Trees surround the chimp enclosure at the Belfast Zoo, where a great escape happened Saturday. Chantal Baxter/Facebook

The zoo will review the natural elements of the enclosure.

“We may have to remove the trees or make them a smaller level,” Cairns told the BBC, “although we don’t want to do that.”

Last month, one of the zoo’s red pandas made a dash for the outside world, but was quickly recaptured.

So this latest incident spurred a few jokes.

And concern.

As Monaghan said after, “We’re just sitting here going it could have turned a whole different way.”

Photos Chantal Baxter/Facebook

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About the Author

Dawn Walton

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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