Chimp caught in residential area after escaping Sendai zoo

Kyodo

A chimpanzee that escaped from a Sendai zoo was caught Thursday afternoon in a nearby residential area after being shot with a tranquilizer gun and falling from power lines.

The male chimpanzee Chacha was one of the five chimpanzees kept at the Yagiyama Zoological Park in the Miyagi Prefecture capital. No one was reported injured in the incident.

Zoo staff noticed one of the chimpanzees missing from a cage around 1:20 p.m. and the park was subsequently closed as a precaution, according to zoo officials.

The chimpanzee was spotted moving along power lines in the residential area and was shot with a tranquilizer and caught around 3:10 p.m.

A local elementary school, which had some 400 pupils inside at the time, ordered the students not to leave the school for home until the chimpanzee was caught.

“When I saw (the chimpanzee) on television, it was quite big, so we thought it was dangerous to let the children out,” school Vice Principal Takashi Yamaguchi said, adding he was relieved the ape was caught.

The Yagiyama Zoological Park, opened in 1965, is located some 5 km southwest of JR Sendai Station. The city-run park held 478 animals as of March 2015, according to the city.