Chimpanzee makes ladder out of branch to escape Belfast zoo enclosure

Chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure at Belfast Zoo. Credit Chantal Baxter

Chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure at Belfast Zoo. Credit Chantal Baxter

Chimpanzees used a branch to escape an enclosure at Belfast Zoo yesterday.

Several chimpanzees climbed up to the top of the wall of their enclosure with the help of a large tree branch, and one was seen along a public footpath in the zoo, going by footage posted on social media.

While some of the chimpanzees stayed on top of the wall, another made a decision to explore the grounds.

A zoo spokesperson told BBC News NI: the primates are quite intelligent and know they are not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so went back of their own accord.

He said they only remained outside their enclosure for a short time before returning as they were "quite cowardly".

Danielle Monaghan said she was "petrified" the chimp might "attack or take the kids".

'Having four children with them they tried to act as calmly as possible so as not to frighten the kids.

"It may have been a different story if it had been aggressive but it absolutely wasn't".

'It made us feel at ease.

The escape is the second at the zoo in as many months, after a red panda called Amber went on a "surprise vacation" in January. "We just walked past it and it was absolutely grand", she told the BBC.

In November previous year, a snow leopard was shot dead after the animal escaped from its enclosure in Dudley Zoo in Britain. "Had it been me I'd have run for the hills".

"Zookeepers were present as the chimpanzee quickly returned from an adjacent wall to the rest of the group inside the enclosure", a spokeswoman said.

"We may have to remove the trees or make them a smaller level, although we don't want to do that".

He confirmed that the chimpanzees were then locked in their enclosure to prevent a further breakout.