A Swedish zoo said Thursday it had to shoot three chimpanzees after they escaped from their enclosure, but the situation is still not under control.
A fourth primate was injured by gunshots, according to the company that runs Furuvik Zoo, about 200 kilometers north of Stockholm.
“A chimpanzee is considered a high-risk animal. If such an animal enters the zoo, it can pose a threat to people’s lives,” Parks and Resorts spokeswoman Annika Troselius told AFP.
Five of the zoo’s seven chimpanzees managed to escape from their enclosure just after noon (1100 GMT) on Wednesday and roam freely around the zoo.
How they escaped is not yet known.
The zoo is currently closed to visitors during the season, but staff have either been evacuated or taken to safety.
The decision to shoot the chimpanzees drew sharp criticism on social media sites.
Calming the animals is “no alternative,” according to the zoo.
“To fire a tranquilizer dart, you have to be very close to the animal. You also have to wait up to 10 minutes for the sedative to take effect,” the zoo said in a statement.
As of Thursday afternoon, the zoo’s four surviving primates were in the monkey building but had not yet returned to their enclosure, Furuvik Zoo wrote in an update on Facebook.
“This means we cannot move people freely around the zoo and we are still on high alert,” the zoo said.
The chimps’ escape follows several other high-profile escape attempts in Sweden.
In late October, a king cobra snuck out of Stockholm’s Skansen Open Air Museum and Animal Park and went missing for about a week before returning on its own.
A month later, two great gray owls escaped from the aviary at the same zoo, but have since flown back.
Originally posted as Three Chimpanzees Shot, Lockdown Zoo