A chimpanzee escaped its enclosure at the Kansas City Zoo today, forcing staff to shelter indoors and in their cars until the chimp was lured back into its pen.
A single chimp got loose around 4 p.m. but remained inside the zoo’s property, prompting a "Code Red" situation, zoo officials told ABC News.
"One of our chimpanzees was able to break roughly a six-foot tree limb that was then used as a ladder to climb on top of the outdoor enclosure wall. That chimp then enticed six other chimps to join the first chimp," Kansas City Zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer said in a statement. "The chimps never left Zoo grounds, nor did they ever leave the immediate exhibit area."
"Zoo staff responded quickly and professionally creating a perimeter around the chimps using enclosed vehicles. Eventually the chimps were lured back in to their holding building with various food treats," Neemeyer said. "Within roughly 1 1/2 hours all chimps were safely secured inside their holding building and the 'Code Red' was pronounced all clear."
During this time, several guests were held in various zoo buildings to ensure their safety, Neemeyer said. "The Zoo’s first and foremost concern is for the wellbeing of our guests, employees as well as the animals."
The chimp exhibit will be closed Friday to allow staff to examine the entire exhibit and "to check for any additional tree limbs that could quite possibly create any issues," Neemeyer said.