A zoo in Paris was evacuated after about 50 baboons escaped their enclosure, according to reports on Friday.
The baboons were housed at the Vincennes Zoo on the southeastern outskirts of Paris, the Telegraph reported.
The animals escaped early in the afternoon, local time, but they were “never in contact with the public” and gathered around a rock in the zoo’s center, according to the newspaper, citing local reports.
Baboons go on the run after jumping Paris zoo enclosure – PARIS (Reuters) – Several baboons escaped from their enclosure at a zoo in Paris on Friday, prompting evacuation of the premises while police hunted for the missing monkeys. https://t.co/DA93nkTHre
— Mark Hamilton (@mhamilton_) January 26, 2018
“Our colleagues have them surrounded,” one police officer was quoted as saying.”They can be dangerous. They mustn’t get out of the park,” said the police officer.
A security perimeter was established around the zoo, the report said.
— Paris Newz (@Paris_Newz) January 26, 2018
Four of the 52 escaped baboons from the Paris zoo are still roaming about, and I can't help but picturing something between "Mon Oncle" and "Planet of the Apes" https://t.co/enRDp6FKSl
— Jess McHugh (@MchughJess) January 26, 2018
Most of the baboons were captured, but according to officials, four “large and potentially very aggressive baboons” are on the loose, reported The Sun.
Members of the public were evacuated as a precaution as baboons can be unpredictable “especially when stressed,” officials said.
“They’re stronger than us,” they noted.
A source at the zoo was quoted by The Sun as saying, “It’s not known how they got out, but everything is being done to try and get them under control.”
“The whole area has been shut down, with only trained professionals involved in the security operation,” the source said. “They include three operatives with rifles who will be able to stun the animals if necessary. Many police and vets are also in attendance. Baboons are large and potentially very aggressive.”
The source added, “They are almost certainly all in the park woods, but anybody in the area needs to keep a look out.”
The alarm was raised when an employee bumped into one of the baboons in a corridor, the zoo said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Zookeepers backed up by police went hunting for four baboons on the run in a zone near their enclosure but none of the monkeys had roamed into public areas, which were in any case evacuated, the statement said.
“A recapture procedure was immediately launched,” it said.
Paris last experienced an animal-on-the-loose alert when a tiger briefly roamed the city after escaping from a circus cage last November. The animal was shot dead.
Reuters contributed to this report.