Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chimpanzee escapes from the zoo


OUT FOR A STROLL: Chimpanzee Sudi walks through the Emperor Valley Zoo yesterday morning after she escaped from her enclosure.

Mark Fraser

Donít worry, itís nothing like Rise of the Planet of the Apes or any other animal escape-themed Hollywood blockbuster gone awry.

Sudi, the lone chimpanzee at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain, escaped her enclosure yesterday morning and was just about to start taking a stroll through the zoo when zookeepers noticed the shaggy, greyish-black three-and-a-half-foot upright-walking creature roaming the primate section was Sudi.

In a release yesterday, the zoo said that around 8.30 a.m., Sudi escaped her cage into the general zoo compound.

As soon as her escape was discovered, almost immediately after it happened, zoo curator Nirmal Biptah initiated standard operating procedures for such an event, which proved quite effective in containing and recapturing Sudi.

The zoo opens at 10 a.m. so there were no members of the public visiting at the time. Sudi, who is between 40 and 45 years old, was hand-raised since birth in Canada, and has been with the zoo for over thirty years, so is habituated to human presence.

ďShe was able to maintain a very calm presence, exploring the surroundings in an inquisitive manner. She was closely monitored by her keepers during this time, who tried to coax her back into her enclosure.

Biptah was on standby to sedate her if necessary,Ē the zoo said.

She did have to be sedated, when she climbed up into an overhanging tree adjacent to the zoo, but off the compound.

To prevent any injury to the animal, she was sedated while she made her descent, under the supervision of zookeepers.

Sudi was returned to her enclosure, without any injury. When the Express called later for an update, about 4 p.m., she was just awakening from her sedation.

This was the first time Sudi escaped, Biptah said, although another primate in her cage had a long time ago.

He said the zoo was investigating how she could have escaped since the system has been secure for almost 30 years.

Chimpanzees are native to the jungles of West and Central Africa. They are highly intelligent creatures, and the closest species related to humans.

The average lifespan of a chimpanzee is 40-50 years in the wild, and up to 60 in captivity.