Escaped cats swim across park moat
Published 05/02/2010 | 07:44
Three cheetahs have swum across a moat and crawled through a hole in a rusty fence to escape their enclosure at a wildlife park in New Zealand.
Visitors at Orana Wildlife Park had to be kept in a secure area for about half an hour so rangers could round up the big cats, park chief executive Lynn Anderson said.
"Our cheetahs, just like a domestic house cat, all hate swimming," she said.
"So if you had asked me yesterday would any of our cheetahs swim I would have said no. They proved us quite wrong."
The three young cheetahs, who were bred in the park, crawled through a fence hole that was exposed recently when greenery was cut back.
The fence around the cheetahs' enclosure will be replaced, Anderson said.
Lucy Tame, a 25-year-old park visitor, said she and her mother took photographs as the animals escaped shortly after midday.
"We saw them sitting in their enclosure and they decided to go for a bit of a swim: one, two, three," she said.
After climbing through the hole in the fence, the cats ran in front of a park shuttle bus, causing the driver to jam on his brakes, she added.