Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo stages ‘zebra escape’

AFP-JIJI

A zebra escaped from its enclosure in the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, giving one keeper a heart attack and injuring another — or at least that was the scenario for a drill aimed at dealing with runaway animals.

The zebra — actually a zoo staff member dressed in a furry suit — supposedly bolted from a cage after an earthquake destroyed its enclosure.

As the drill continued Tuesday, it wandered around the zoo before ramming into a wall and sending a keeper to hospital with a heart attack.

After injuring another keeper, the zebra was subdued with a fake stun gun and bundled onto a nearby pickup truck, as curious zoo visitors looked on, laughing and taking photos.

“The zebra is an animal that easily panics,” said 27-year-old Yumi Tamura, who dressed as the zebra but usually cares for gorillas and monkeys.

“I myself felt panicky when acting it out,” she told reporters.

Past simulations at Tokyo’s city-run zoos have featured faux gorillas, rhinos, lions and orangutans making a break for freedom.

“Every year, a keeper plays the role of an escaping animal,” an Ueno Zoo spokesman said. “They know how the animals would act in the event of disaster and their escape.”

  • Clayton Forrester

    That’s the cutest zebra I’ve ever seen.