Crafty chimps escape Kansas City Zoo enclosure

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNN/KMBC) — Some of the wildlife at the Kansas City Zoo almost made it out into the wild, but a group of chimpanzees are back in their exhibit after escaping.

It took the Kansas City Zoo more than an hour to contain them.

“We may have had to use some malted milk balls at the end — the final enticement,” said Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff.

In the end, the curious chimpanzees just couldn’t resist the sweet temptation of chocolate.

Zookeepers believe these pursuing primates used their wit and strength to break the bonds of their captivity.

“Our problem becomes chimps are so much stronger than humans that they can go up in a tree and pull on something long enough and pull a piece of log off,” said Wisthoff. “That’s apparently what happened.”

Even though these analytical apes aren’t exactly like their monkey brethren, the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” still applies.

“We had one ring leader — not sure who that was — but he got that log, put it on the wall, got up on top somehow,” said Wisthoff. “Then, he beckoned other chimps to come over and join him and lured about six of them up with him.”

The chimpanzees were finally contained, and nobody was hurt or in any danger. Still, the fear of not knowing troubled some visitors.

“It was really scary because they didn’t tell us exactly what was going on,” said Tiffany Thomas, who was visiting the zoo. “They didn’t say, ‘Hey, we are just trying to get them contained,’ or anything like that.”

The animals never left zoo property, and now zookeepers will be combing through the exhibit — making sure there’s nothing else the crafty chimps can get their hands on to attempt another daring escape.

So the zookeepers can inspect, the chimpanzee exhibit will be closed Friday but should reopened by the weekend.

By the way, back in 2004 several chimps escaped the zoo after high winds took down a tree — which crushed a wall. The chimps were corralled within a few hours.

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