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Great esc-ape as clever chimps break out of zoo

Branching out: Chimps made a ladder out of branches to climb the wall of their pen

SMART chimpanzees built their own ladder to break out at a zoo and one even went for a stroll on a path.

Visitors filmed the primates as they used branches of trees to scale their pen at Belfast Zoo. But their adventure ended when they returned to the enclosure of their own accord.

Monkey business: Climbing the wall

Footage on social media showed the mammals perched on the wall, then one emerging from the bushes and walking on a path. A child visitor on Saturday was heard to exclaim: ‘Don’t escape you bad little gorilla.’

Zookeeper Alyn Cairns said trees in the enclosure have been weakened by recent storms, allowing the mammals to break them and use them as a ladder. He told the BBC: ‘They’re intelligent primates and know they’re not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves.’

Close encounter: Chimp outside pen

But Elaine Monaghan, whose grandchildren were at the zoo, said: ‘This could have ended very badly.’

It was the second breach at the Northern Ireland zoo in recent weeks after an endangered red panda went missing when electric fences failed. It was recaptured nearby.