The four lion cubs and their father, Ato, were found outside their exhibit at 6.40am on Wednesday, but away from public areas. Four returned to their enclosure after about 10 minutes, but the keepers had to calm one cub down and return it to captivity.
Born last year and feted as the zoo’s first litter in 18 years, the lion cubs weighed up to 95 kilograms on their first birthday in August.
Adult male lions like Ato are up to three meters long and weigh up to 150 kilograms.
The lion enclosure was sealed off by fences at both ends on Thursday, and staff members informed zoo-goers that the section would remain closed for the rest of the day. The event a warning code one, which is the zoo most serious about dangerous animals.
In January last year, the zoo conducted a review following the escape of a chimpanzee, considered the zoo’s most dangerous animal. The results of that investigation were not made public, but in response to questions, Taronga said that the chimpanzee had probably escaped across the moat into his exhibit. As a result, the ditch was widened.
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