more loose chimps
Five chimpanzees broke out of their enclosure at Germany's Hannover Experience Zoo on Wednesday, terrorizing patrons and injuring a 5-year-old girl.
How exactly the chimps escaped from their enclosure is under investigation, according to the Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung.
The chimps may have used wood that had fallen into their area during gardening work to scale the wall of their pen, AFP reported. A zoo spokesperson told Die Welt Online that the apes utilized a tree that had fallen over in a recent storm to climb out.
About 2,500 people were visiting at the zoo at the time, and were evacuated once officials realized the apes were on the loose.
A 5-year-old girl was knocked over by one of the apes as it tore through the grounds of the zoo. The child escaped the encounter with cuts on her face, and was taken to the hospital for observation, according to Die Welt Online, where zoo officials sent her a large plush toy.
Most of the escapees didn't get very far. Four of them "had a quick look around and then jumped pretty quickly back into their compound," zoo spokeswoman Simone Hagemeyer told AFP.
"The fifth and oldest chimp went off to visit the head gorilla," she told the newswire service. "He's getting on a bit, so we offered him a ladder to get back into the enclosure."
The animal rights organization PETA criticized the Hannover Zoo, accusing them of "grossly negligent behavior."
"Chimpanzees possess incredible strength and can be completely unpredictable around humans. One chimpanzee on its own can injure or kill a human - five escaped chimpanzees could have led to a catastrophe,” zoologist and PETA organizer Peter Höffken said in a press release.
"Incidents of severe injury continually take place with chimpanzees in captivity,” Höffken added. “The practice of keeping intelligent great apes in captivity must be abolished."
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