Four chimpanzees were shot dead after escaping from their enclosure around noon on Wednesday, sparking panic and outrage within the local community.
Five chimps escaped from their enclosure at Furuvik Zoo on Wednesday, December 14th. The zoo is joined with an amusement park near Gavle, which sits around 100 miles north of Stockholm.
A spokesperson from the zoo named Annika Troselius spoke to local outlet the Expressen daily. They reported that the animals had to be euthanized since there wasn’t enough tranquilizers for all four of the chimps.
A fifth chimpanzee is also believed to have escaped. However, that animal went back into the enclosure shortly after, according to Expressen.
Authorities have asked the local public to stay indoors after the escape. It remains unclear how the monkeys escaped their enclosure, but public safety is the key issue now.
Zoo spokesperson Troselius reminded the public that the chimpanzees are strong and dangerous. They said that the zoo’s main focus “is that no human gets hurt.” She illustrated just how dangerous these animals can be by revealing that they have a “high risk classification.” She even said that the zoo staff isn’t allowed to work in close contact with these animals because of the potential danger.
Troselius commented that the deaths of the monkeys were indeed tragic. However, she said the zoo felt that it was left with no other choice.
Daniel Wikdahl serves as a police spokesman for the area, and he told the local outlet SVT that “They are very strong animals and absolutely not domesticated.”
Journalists Told to ‘Get Back in Car and Leave’ After Arriving at Zoo After Chimpanzees Escape
The gravity of the situation is evidenced in how journalists were treated upon arrival to the scene. Police told them to “get back in your car and leave” when they arrived to the zoo after the escape. According to local publication Dagens Nyheter, seven marksmen were called in to the scene. Other policemen were equipped with drones.
Ing-Marie Persson served as the primate manager of the zoo for 30 years. She remarked that the killings were senseless and ‘deplorable’ acts.
Persson said that the primates were her “best friends’ and part of her ‘family.'” She also remarked that their deaths had broken her heart.
She told Afton Bladet:”‘It should not have been necessary to shoot the escaped monkeys.” Persson went on, saying: “It is deplorable. So poorly done.”
Persson added that a better alternative for the animals would have been being stunned. She remarked that when she was the primate manager and chimps escaped, the zoo was evacuated so the staff could load their guns with anastethetics safely.
The Furuvik zoo had seven chimpanzees. Moreover, as per the park’s own website, it remains the lone primate research station in the Nordic countries.
The zoo will investigate how the escape occurred. They also vowed to introduce new safety measures to prevent another tragedy.