Seven chimpanzees at the Kansas City Zoo performed a jailbreak that would make Escape from Alcatraz star, Clint Eastwood, proud. The gang of chimps plotted together to come up with a fool-proof plan to get out of their enclosure by utilizing a tree branch that measured six feet in length. Once the staff was made aware of the escape, the zoo was placed on a lockdown that lasted roughly an hour, while employees worked to locate and roundup the chimpanzees.
Zoo director Randy Wisthoff recounted the tale of the dramatic escape, which sounds like the plot of the next Hollywood blockbuster kid’s movie. Wisthoff says that one chimp placed the large branch against the wall, climbed to the top, and convinced his buddies to join him in his escapades. Several of the chimpanzees entered into zones that were for employees only, but fortunately, the zoo was able to activate their emergency protocol system and get visitors to designated safety zones. Wisthoff said that none of the visitors to the zoo were in danger.
The Kansas City Zoo jailbreak took place in the middle of the afternoon, and it took zoo workers an hour to round up the chimpanzees and get them safely back into their enclosure. While the chimps were obviously incredibly intelligent, they simply could not resist temptation as the staff offered them treats of fruits and vegetables to lure them back into their home. It was getting close to dinner time for the chimpanzees, so when it came to making a choice of running loose or getting fed a delicious meal, dinner won out. While the meal was a great incentive, Wisthoff said that what finally convinced the chimps to come back in the enclosure was their dessert consisting of malted milk balls. Proof positive that many problems can be solved with delicious chocolate.
Employees are doing an extra inspection on Friday, with the area securely locked down, to check for any additional security breaches. Workers typically check the enclosure regularly for sticks and branches, to ensure the chimpanzees do not escape from their pin, but this one was recently broken off. The zoo’s attendance was 1,800 on Thursday, and many of them stayed after the zoo was secured to enjoy the rest of the animal exhibits. Visitors said that the staff of the zoo was courteous when informing them of the emergency. Those who were locked down in the safe zones were also given free zoo passes for the inconvenience.
Zoos can be a wonderful learning experience for children, as they get to see exotic animals they would never get to witness with their own eyes any other way. It is also a great way to spend a weekend with family, which is always a win-win for everyone involved. The staff at the Kansas City Zoo seems to have done an excellent job of dealing with the chimpanzee jailbreak in a way that was respectful to their visitors, while remaining calm and kind to the animals.
by Michael Cantrell