Seven "smart" chimpanzees prompted an hour-long lockdown at the Kansas City Zoo this week after they figured out a way to escape from their exhibit.
The breakout happened around 3:30 p.m. Thursday when one of the chimpanzees broke off a tree limb, propped it up against the wall of the enclosure, and used it to climb to the top, the Kansas City Star reported.
It was a potentially dangerous situation for visitors because chimps are known for their strength. Studies have shown chimps to be four times as strong as human beings of comparable size, evolutionary biologist Alan Walker told ABC News in 2012
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Kansas City Zoo director Randy Wisthoff told the Star that it was the chimpanzees' ingenuity that helped them get away.
"Chimps are so smart," he said.
Realizing it was almost their dinner time, zookeepers used the chimps' regular food such as carrots, celery, and lettuce to lure the animals back to the exhibit, Wisthoff told the Star. The last chimpanzee needed the extra enticement of malted milk balls, he told the newspaper.
"That was the clincher," he said.
The zoo closed the chimp exhibit Friday in order to examine it in an effort to prevent any future incidents, zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer said in a statement.
The Star noted that zoo personnel closed visitors into locked and secure areas during the hour they looked for the chimpanzees as part of emergency protocol.
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