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Saturday 24 August 2019

No more monkey business as Dublin Zoo has back-up plan for ape escapes

Family: Dublin Zoo has a number of Sulawesi crested macaques
Family: Dublin Zoo has a number of Sulawesi crested macaques

Darragh Mc Donagh

Dublin Zoo has introduced contingency plans for animal escapes in adverse weather conditions after three monkeys broke out of their enclosure when a roof was damaged during Storm Ophelia.

Three juvenile Sulawesi crested macaques jumped six metres from a climbing frame onto an electric fence overhang before escaping into the zoo grounds when the roof blew off from a section of their enclosure in October 2017.

They were later found hanging out in a tree close to their habitat, almost 20m above ground.

Attempts to shoot the macaques with tranquilliser darts in the tree proved unsuccessful, but they were eventually recaptured when they descended from the branches.

The zoo has since introduced a policy for dealing with animal escapes resulting from bad weather events, according to the latest inspection report from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The report, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, noted the addition of the new policy, and commended Dublin Zoo for its high standards of veterinary care and staff training.

It also praised the zoo for its provision of "extensive and versatile" reserve accommodation for use in the event that certain animals need to be isolated.

A spokesperson for Dublin Zoo said that the "minor recommendations" contained in the report had been noted, and that they were being implemented.

Irish Independent

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