When visiting a zoo, do you ever wonder about your’s or the animals’ safety? What if they break free from their exhibit? What happens next? Well, we have some of the most notorious stories from around the globe. Keep following AnimalPlex for more Notorious Zoo Escape stories!
In 1979, a wolf named Virginia decided to go against the rules of nature and escaped from the Los Angeles Zoo multiple times. Even though wolves are not supposed to climb trees, she escaped to eventual freedom by climbing fences, walking along branches and ascending trees. On one such occasion, zoo officials and veterinarians were unable to find her for over a month, although she was occasionally spotted. Using tranquilizer guns they attempted to subdue her for capture but were unsuccessful. It’s not clear whether she was ever recaptured.
The Los Angeles Zoo has had its fair share of escape artists. It reports that at least 35 animals have made a run for it in a period of a decade, throughout 1990s to 2000s. These escapees include Evelyn, the gorilla. Over several years she escaped from her enclosure four or five times. On one occasion she pulled herself out by using some old vines and on another she jumped the wall by standing on her gorilla friend’s back. Visitors had to be evacuated while TV-news copters circulated overhead and Evelyn ran the zoo for over an hour.
Ken Allen was a Bornean orangutan, born in the San Diego Zoo in 1971. After a series of escapes in the 1980s, he became famous. Known as the ”hairy Houdini” he had his own fan club, bumper stickers and T shirts. He was also the inspiration for ”The Ballad of Ken Allen.” Workers from the zoo went undercover as rock climbers who checked the walls, and tourists, in an attempt to find out how he escaped. He seemed to enjoy the challenge of finding a new way to escape and did not seem to mind being led back to his enclosure. The Psychiatrist and ballad writer Dennis Gersten said, ”Ken Allen appeals to everyone’s sense of breaking out, the irony of it is he doesn’t really want to leave. He breaks out, but goes nowhere.” Ken Allen was no ordinary primate. His obituary read: ”Beloved ape, 29, was renowned escape artist,” when he eventually died in 2000.
It was a near disaster when a curious young penguin, only a few months old waddled out of its enclosure and into the lion’s den! This little African penguin at Münster Zoo in Germany ended up in the lion’s territory, while exploring the big wide world. Thanks to a trail of herrings, the flightless bird and unaware penguin, was lured out of the sleeping feline cage. The survivor who previously had only a number, has now been named Leona.