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London Zoo reveals five animal escape attempts in four years

A northern bald ibis, striated caracaras and a barn owl have all tried to escape in recent years.

08 October 2022

London Zoo has revealed that birds made breaks for freedom on five occasions over the past four years.

Most recently, an endangered migratory bird attempted to escape on Monday this week.

The northern bald ibis flew away from the zoo in Regent’s Park, north-west London, after a loose wire in its aviary roof created just enough slack for the bird to slip through.

Northern Bald Ibis
A northern bald Ibis (Alamy/PA)

Keepers responded to multiple sightings of it on social media and it was recaptured from nearby Camden at about 1.20pm that day and taken back to the zoo.

A London Zoo spokesperson told the PA news agency there have been five incidents where animals, all birds, temporarily escaped from its grounds during the past four years.

Three involved striated caracaras – birds of prey – escaping in March this year, June 2019 and January 2018.

A barn owl flew off in July this year.

striated caracaras
Striated caracaras (Alamy/PA)

A spokesperson said the birds “flew away from zoo boundaries during a routine flying demonstration” and “keepers monitored the bird and returned it to the zoo”.

They added: “During the past four years there have been five occasions where animals have left zoo grounds; four of these occasions were birds which temporarily flew away during the zoo’s routine flying demonstrations, designed to educate the public.

“These birds, none of which were at risk or posed any danger to the public, were all monitored by zookeepers during their brief adventures and safely returned to the zoo at the earliest opportunity.”

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