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HomeNewsDramatic footage of lions escaping Taronga Zoo enclosure

Dramatic footage of lions escaping Taronga Zoo enclosure

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CCTV footage has revealed how five lions managed to escape from their enclosure at a popular zoo in NSW last month.

On Thursday, the footage of the Taronga Zoo lions was released, showing how the big cats managed to fool zookeepers and break out of their enclosure.

Four lion cubs – Luzuko, Zuri, Khar and Malika – along with adult male lion Ato were seen looking at the fence on the day of their escape on November 2.

One cub managed to squeeze under the fence before Ato and the others followed.

Following the dramatic escape, calls from lioness Maya and the zookeepers were heard.

Three of the cubs were able to re-enter the enclosure, but female cub Malika had to be tranquillised by the zoo’s emergency response team.

She was returned to her den later.

In a statement the zoo said it would continue its review of the incident.

“The lions played and interacted with the fence before the first cub was able to squeeze underneath the fence,” Taronga Zoo said.

“The five lions calmly investigated within metres of their main exhibit, before actively trying to find their way back under the fence as lioness Maya and keepers began calling for them.

“Taronga’s review of the lion incident is ongoing, and an independent, specialist forensic engineer is still conducting detailed investigations on the failure and the complex mesh fencing system. Their review will also advise on necessary repairs.”

The zoo said the lions will remain in an outdoor, back of house habitat pending findings of the investigation and sadly will not be back in their main exhibit before Christmas.

A family who slept overnight at the zoo the evening before the lions’ escape described the terrifying ordeal.

Magnus and Dominique Perri were sleeping overnight at the zoo with their children Lucas, eight, and Oliver, six, as part of the Roar and Snore experience when they were woken early on Wednesday morning.

The family had been sleeping 100m from the lion enclosure when a loud alarm blared through the zoo to alert everyone that five lions were missing from their enclosure.

Zookeepers rushed to the family’s tent at 6.40am and told them to get into a safe zone.

“It happened really quickly,” Mr Perri said.

“They came running into the tent area saying … ‘get out of your tent and run, come now and leave your belongings’.”

The Perri family were herded to a safe zone as part of the emergency lockdown protocol as officials searched for the escaped adult lion and four cubs.

“We had to run to this building, it was only 50 or 70ms. They counted us, then locked the door,” the father said.

Taronga Zoo director Simon Duffy reassured visitors that the lions had been returned to their habitat without any injuries to guests or staff by 9am.

He praised the zoo staff for acting quickly and following the safety procedures.

“Four of the lions calmly made their way back into their main exhibit and dens and one lion cub was safely tranquillised,” Mr Duffy said.

“All animals are now safe in their back-of-house exhibit and are being closely monitored.”

The adult lion and four cubs were reported missing around 6.30am when they were observed outside their main exhibit in an area separated from the rest of the zoo by a 1.8m fence.

Read related topics:Sydney

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