Chimp Escapes Zoo, Refuses to Go Back

Chacha scaled a power pole after escaping a Japanese zoo
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2016 3:07 PM CDT
Chimp Escapes Zoo, Refuses to Go Back
Chacha screams at a worker after escaping a Japanese zoo on Thursday.   (Kyodo News via AP)

A chimpanzee named Chacha briefly lived out his King Kong fantasies Thursday after escaping from a Japanese zoo, the AP reports. According to the Japan Times, Chacha was discovered missing from his cage at the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai around 1:20pm. The zoo was locked down, and workers starting searching for the absconded ape. Chacha was eventually spotted moving along power lines in a nearby neighborhood, having scaled an electrical pole. A local elementary school kept its students inside to prevent them from becoming Chacha chow. “When I saw [the chimpanzee] on television, it was quite big, so we thought it was dangerous to let the children out,” the school's vice principal tells the Times.

Chacha was "agitated and screaming at zoo workers" from his perch on the power lines, the AP reports. Workers finally just shot him with a tranquilizer dart nearly two hours after he was first discovered missing, according to ABC News. Chacha, still trying to escape, dropped headfirst into a blanket held by workers. It's not clear if he survived. The zoo's director "apologized profusely for the inconvenience" of a loose chimp. And the zoo is investigating how Chacha managed to escape. (It's also unclear how many more caged animals will be inspired by Inky the octopus before week's end.)

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