The chimpanzees were not on display that day, but the zoo just opened.
The incident happened about a year after the Inner West baboon outbreak, when a male baboon on his way to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a vasectomy escaped along with two females. In 2014, water buffalo drifted two miles down Newtown’s King Street after escaping from a movie set.
The Deadly Outbreak of the Mogo Lion
In 2009, a nine-year-old lioness named Jamelia who lived in a non-extended enclosure at the Mogo Zoo on the south coast of NSW escaped due to a “zookeeper error”.
At the time of the 190-pound lion’s escape, there were about 35 elderly visitors on the property.
The zoo’s founder, Sally Padey, bottle-fed Jamelia since she was a cub. She summoned a sniper to shoot the lion.
The zoo’s general manager, John Appleby, said at the time that tranquilizers take eight to 10 minutes to take effect and run the risk of arousing the animal and making the situation more dangerous.
“Ten minutes with a lion on the loose can do a lot of damage,” Appleby said at the time. “You don’t even want to know what the outcome would be.”
In 2020, Shoalhaven Zoo zookeeper Jennifer Brown was flown to Sydney with cuts to her neck and head after being mauled by two lions. Brown had entered their residence for a routine cleaning.
Adelaide Zoo evacuated
An orangutan living at Adelaide Zoo made headlines in 2009 after escaping from her enclosure, triggering an evacuation on a busy Mother’s Day Sunday.
The monkey, named Karta, pushed a stick into the wires of her fence, shorting the electric fence, and piled a mass of sticks and ferns against the wires so she could climb to freedom.
But Karta didn’t venture far and soon returned to her abode after her spectacular escape.
Historic Escapes from Taronga
In 1990, a newly arrived clouded leopard snuck out of its exhibit thanks to a broken wire. The endangered Asian cat spent the day chasing pigeons on the rocky exterior of the bear and lion dens before the keepers were able to calm it down and return the leopard to its enclosure.
In 1973, the then director of Taronga claimed that thieves had stolen two freshwater crocodiles. The next day, they were discovered on the zoo grounds — they had climbed an eight-foot fence, a feat the director believed “wasn’t physically possible.”
In the mid-1950s, ex-circus chimpanzee Koko fled her enclosure and, before being captured, jumped into the office manager’s Ford Prefect car.
In 1946, frightened guests were herded into an empty seal enclosure after a Bengal tiger broke out. The authorities were forced to shoot the tiger.
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