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article imageVideo: Tokyo zoo runs simulated gorilla escape

By Anne Sewell     Feb 7, 2014 in World
Tokyo - In an effort to be prepared for the unexpected, officials at Tokyo zoo ran an emergency drill on Thursday. They dressed a member of staff in a gorilla costume, who then mimed the great escape.
The scenario was run to test what would happen should one of the zoo's gorillas escaped following an earthquake in the rather seismic-troubled region.
A staff member was dressed up in a gorilla-like costume and ran through the zoo, before being "overwhelmed" by other zoo staff members using nets and a "stun gun." The "gorilla" was then "sedated," ready to be returned safely to its enclosure.
Over 150 members of staff from Ueno Zoo in Tokyo were involved in the drill, together with local police and fire department officers.
Despite the rather less-than-convincing gorilla outfit, the director of the zoo, Toshimitsu Doi, said that the drill was successful and stressed the importance of being prepared "for the unexpected."
Natsumi Uno, the staff member who played the part of the escaped gorilla, said it was fun to switch places for the day.
"In my job, we sometimes have the chance to catch an animal, but never to get caught," she said, adding that "When the other keepers chased me, I could really understand the animal's feelings."
While stressing that the safety of people is essential, she said the safety of the animal being chased must also be taken into account. "That is why this drill is important," she added.
Zookeepers hold a net to capture an animal keeper dressed in a gorilla costume during a drill to pra...
Zookeepers hold a net to capture an animal keeper dressed in a gorilla costume during a drill to practice what to do in the event of a real animal escape, at the Ueno zoo in Tokyo, on February 6, 2014
Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP
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