Chimps go AWOL

When I first heard about this, I thought it was going to be a story about chimps rampaging round the zoo, getting their own back, but no, it was just another sad case of the Nanny State.

Around 5,000 visitors were rushed out of Chester Zoo yesterday after a pack of 30 chimpanzees escaped their enclosure.
The great ape escape led to panic as zoo staff first hid visitors in nearby buildings, before deciding to escort them out of the premises as a security measure.
The animals managed to slip out of the back. The keepers feared the chimpanzees would escape and run wild among the crowds. However the crafty chimps instead tucked into their food, kept in the keepers' kitchen in advance of lunch, and they were still a locked door away from the public.

One witness, James Facey, was with his family when the evacuation began. Mr Facey, a photographer from Liverpool, said: 'One minute everything seemed normal then all of a sudden staff were literally pushing everyone inside the restaurant.
'I was standing inside with my family when one of the keepers told us all that a large group of male chimps had broken free from their cage.
'We were told as a precaution we had to stay inside until they were secured and it was safe to leave.
'It wasn't long before staff told everyone we had to leave the zoo completely and we were all escorted out.'
Zoo spokesman Rachel Ashton claimed the public was not in danger and a total evacuation was just a precaution. She said: 'A number of chimps did get out of their enclosure and made their way to a keeper area at the back of the chimp house. 'This happened at around 12.40pm and as a precaution we decided to evacuate the zoo.
'We believe there were around 5,000 people in the zoo at the time. 'The chimps were always contained and locked in so they couldn't go anywhere.
'It was just that we needed to get them back into the chimp area so it was as a matter of precaution we had to evacuate the zoo. At no time did we have chimpanzees running amok in the zoo.'

Chimpanzees are social creatures known for their intelligent behaviour.
Not only do they exhibit human-like traits, such as comforting victims of bullies with a hug and even a peck on the cheek, they are one of the few animal species who can use tools to alter their environment, such as using sticks to 'fish' termites out of their nests. They are human’s closest relatives in the wild and can recognise their own reflection in the mirror, showing they have a sense of 'self'. They have also been observed using stones to crack nuts, and hunting in teams.


Book Reviewer
Bubbles' email certainly stirred things up.
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