Last Wednesday (December 14), four endangered chimpanzees at the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden broke out of their enclosure and were shot dead.
Three others escaped and were recaptured. One was hurt in the process and will need to receive veterinary attention for some time. She reportedly suffered damage to her arm and eyes.
According to the zoo, shooters were introduced after speaking with the on-site veterinarians. Conversations indicated that there weren’t enough tranquilizer supplies to save the animals. According to Furuvik Zoo’s information manager Anna Troselius, “that is why we called for the marksmen,” TV channel TV4 reported.
It’s estimated that seven hunters were used to track down and kill the chimpanzees who fled.
At the time of the incident, neighbors were advised to stay inside. The missing primates were categorized as “strong and high risk” by zoo communications.
Firing to kill
The decision to shoot the missing chimpanzees rather than capture them was made due to the potential risk to human life. Police officers and drones participated in the kill mission with the local hunters.
“When they got out of the chimpanzee house, people’s lives were in danger both in the park and the public outside the park. Then it becomes a critical situation and there are no other options than shoot to kill,” said Sandra Wilke, CEO of Furuvik Zoo.
The shoot-to-kill order was deemed an overreaction by experts. As a result, University of Lund zoologists stopped working with the zoo and ceased their chimpanzee research.
Was this tragedy preventable?
Furuvik Zoo, which lies 156 kilometers north of Stockholm, has a troubled security past. It has previously faced criticism for what appear to be lax chimpanzee enclosure policies.
In 2018, a primate bit off one of an animal keeper’s fingers when he lost his footing and reached for a bar separating him from the animals. A Swedish Work Environment Authority inquiry into the incident revealed serious security issues surrounding the chimpanzee enclosure.
The zoo says it doesn’t know how the seven chimpanzees recently got out of their house and that it is actively looking into what it calls a “great tragedy and a huge failure.”
Source: “4 Endangered Chimpanzees Shot Dead After Escaping Zoo Enclosure” by Plant Based News
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