Chimpanzees tranquilized after escape from Missouri sanctuary

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Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Police in Missouri said two chimpanzees were tranquilized and captured after escaping from a sanctuary in Jefferson County.

Grant Bissell, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said deputies responded with assistance from workers from the Critter Lane Petting Zoo in Valles Mines when the chimps escaped from the Missouri Primate Foundation, south of Festus, early Sunday afternoon.


The male chimp was tranquilized on a property near the sanctuary about 2:30 p.m. and the female chimp was captured about 3:45 p.m. The primates were examined by a veterinarian after being recaptured to ensure they were free of injuries.

Bissell said the chimps are believed to have escaped their enclosure due to an unsecured lock. A woman at the sanctuary sustained minor injuries in the escape, but declined medical treatment.

A chimpanzee previously escaped the facility July 30 and was seen trying to open a car door before being recaptured.

Tonia Haddix, who owns the seven chimps at the Missouri Primate Foundation, said the cages had been undergoing cleaning at the time of the escape. She said double doors are being installed to prevent future incidents.


"We have a lot of good protocols in place, but sometimes, and I don't care how fancy your facility is, mechanisms fail," Haddix told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Even prisoners -- just like the Georgia riots recently. They were able to take over the prisons. It happens."

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