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Chimpanzee found dead at Sydney Zoo sparks rumours of animal escape

The Guardian logo The Guardian 09/04/2021 Royce Kurmelovs
a bird sitting on top of a wooden fence: Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Sydney Zoo staff say they are shocked by the sudden death of one of its chimpanzees which was found dead in its enclosure on Friday morning.

The zoo in western Sydney also rejected rumours that an animal had been on the loose.

There were early reports that an ape had escaped, sparking a lockdown, with visitors being turned away, told to stay in their cars or locked inside the administrative building.

Some media organisations scrambled helicopters to cover the incident.

A spokesperson for Sydney Zoo told The Guardian that there had been no animal escape, but staff had arrived at work this morning to find one of its chimpanzees had died.

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“There was no animal escape,” the spokesperson said. “The zoo just followed safety proceedings and protocols to shut the zoo down.”

“The zoo is just following safety protocols that occur with any death of an animal.

“The zoo is now reopened, we’re investigating.”

The spokesperson would not say how the chimpanzee, called Mogli, died, but they expected to release a public statement later on Friday when the circumstances are know.

A post to the zoo’s Facebook page announcing Mogli’s death said the team were deeply shocked by the development.

“The team are in a state of deep shock and grief,” the post said.

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A chimpanzee was found dead by Sydney Zoo staff on Friday morning. © Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP A chimpanzee was found dead by Sydney Zoo staff on Friday morning.

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