Orangutan Breakout - Tama Zoo

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A large orangutan attempted to escape from Tama Zoo in Tokyo yesterday, frightening some children who burst into tears, while zoo staff fully mobilized in order to contain and then shoot the beast with a tranquilizing dart. The male orangutan grows to around 5ft tall and can weigh up to 200 pounds.

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In this case, the oversized orangutan was actually a man in a costume and the whole episode was a drill that the zoo holds annually. Last year's "escapee" was a lion.

Once found throughout Southeast Asia, this species of ape now survives only in small populations across the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The orangutan is the largest tree dwelling mammal.

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The real orangs at the zoo - there are four - weren't sure what to make of it all as they watched from their 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) enclosure, which took 2 years to build and features ropeways they can use to swing between high towers. Perhaps they were thinking, "Crazy humans".


Robin said...

our zoo, in the earlier days had an escaped panther.. and he hide right in the middle of the city under the drainage system.. He was shot to death in the end.

Which kinda remind me of Missing Elmo...

Zoo should keep wild animals inside, including wild human. :)

just kidding

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Not a good idea to frighten the children. They might remember this for many years.
Still haven't made up my mid about zoos. I really don't like the idea of taking them away from the wild. I especially dislike birds caged.

Pandabonium said...

Hi Robin! Nice to have you visit again. Hope you find time to do more posts on your blog, but realize that there are priorities for your time.

An escaped panther would definitely be a bad thing - for humans and panther. Guess that's why this zoo runs these drills every year.

Pandabonium said...

Wendy - yeah, I thought the same thing and wonder why they don't do it when the zoo is closed, or carefully explain to parents what is going on that day.

I too question the zoo system at times. One of the good things they do is spread awareness about the plight of endangered animals, like the orangutan, and ecological issues in general. I can see the value of this especially for city dwellers who are almost totally detached from reality, um, I mean, nature. Of course, I favor zoo habitats that are as natural as possible, not the old style concrete lined cages (Ueno Zoo is one of those horrible places, San Diego Zoo is fantastic, even the aviary). Zoos can also play a role in breeding endangered species. So there are pros and cons I think.

There is an interesting article about this very topic at Good Zoo guide".

Swinebread said...

Don't they do this every year? I seem to remember this from CNN or The Daily Show a year ago.

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - yes. last year was a "lion". (see 2nd paragraph). :^)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Wendy and Panda-B,

The Washington Park Zoo in Portland was one of the first in the States to introduce the idea of "natural habitat enclosures", i.e. getting rid of the plain, cement cages and trying to emulate the animals' native environment as much as possible. They first started doing this back in the early '70s, and they've been steadily improving it ever since. It has been a while since I visited WPZ (the last time was in '94), but it almost seemed like the animals were roaming free and the people were in cages.

That's the way it should be.

Old Broad (going back to Hill soon) said...

I suppose it's necessary. Just hope they didn't actually shoot the costumed one with a real tranquilizer.

Pandabonium said...

MM - that's cool. Curious name for an Oregon zoo. I agree, the emphasis should be on the animals' environment.

Old Broad - well, I bet I can think of a couple of "monkeys" you'd like to tranquilize!

PinkPanther said...


What a giant Orangutang, it scares ME. :^p

I trust that Panda won’t be escaped from the zoo, he is protected well by the zoo keeper. ^_~

Pandabonium said...

Yeah, PP, the zoo keeper is always on watch. :(

Omar Cruz said...
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