VISHAKAPATNAM: It was a short-lived prison break for two chimpanzees who brought Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) to a halt for two hours, after they fled their day enclosure, sending the visitors into a tizzy. Zoo keepers and authorities struggled for almost 90 minutes to tranquilise and return the free chimps to their enclosures.
According to authorities of IGZP, three chimpanzees - Chiko (male), Chipa and Chikitha (both female), live in the chimpanzee enclosure. Chiko (18 years) and Chikitha (30 years) were found missing from their enclosure at around 9.50 am by the animal keeper G Chinna Rao, who alerted the officials and the emergency response team. The team rushed with the required tranquilisers, nets and other equipment.
Sources said that with the failure of the solar fence which is under repair, the chimpanzees used a small pipe to climb out of the enclosure.
"Initially, we tried to lure the chimpanzees by giving them fruits, but in vain. Then we had to use tranquilisers to bring them back to the enclosure. It took around one and half hour for the total operation", Assistant Zoo Curator SS Ali Mashaddy told The New Indian Express.
Ali also said that though a few people were present near the enclosure, they were immediately vacated. "Nothing to worry, all the chimpanzees are safe and healthy," he added.
“The solar fencing was working perfectly during the morning-hour inspection. We suspect a technical snag behind its failure. The restoration works are under way,” zoo authorities said, adding that the fencing at other enclosures are working fine.
The wall of the animal enclosure is 16-feet-high, while the height of solar fencing is around four feet.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that he animals escaped due to the failure of solar fencing. A detailed investigation has been ordered. If it is found that it happened owing to the negligence of animal keepers, we will take the necessary action,” said zoo curator B Vijay Kumar.
The three chimpanzees were brought to the IGZP from the Tisch Zoo of Jerusalem in Israel in June last year and were kept in enclosures in October last.