- Ben Tobias – Paul Kirby
- BBC News
A Swedish zoo is under fire for shooting dead three chimpanzees and injuring a fourth after they escaped from their cages.
And justified the zoo in Vorovik in Sweden that trying to calm these animals anesthetized instead of shooting them would have been dangerous to people’s lives.
However, there are still three free monkeys that the concerned authorities have not been able to return to their cages yet.
These animals were very popular in Sweden, which sparked outrage in the country.
Researcher Matthias Osvath, who knows these animals well, confirmed that they did not pose a real danger to people. “If I had met them in the garden my heart would have pounded, but I would not have felt in danger,” Osphath said.
The incident began with chimpanzees escaping from their cages at about eleven in the morning and began roaming freely around the garden, but it is not yet clear how he escaped.
The zoo in Vorovik was closed to the public, but its officials judged that the escaped animals posed a danger to life and instructed staff to evacuate or to keep them indoors.
The company responsible for operating the park issued a statement about the incident, which it posted on the social networking site Facebook, saying: “Some may think that chimpanzees are peaceful, but in fact, they are very dangerous. They are fast, strong and fearless.”
For these reasons, the company said it shot the fleeing monkeys instead of anesthetizing them with sedative darts that could be fired at close range.
“This is in addition to another fact indicating that it may take about ten minutes for the effects of the anesthetic to appear, which poses a great danger to people’s safety,” the statement added.
However, the decision to shoot the animals was widely criticized. A former zoo worker, who held the job for nearly 30 years, has accused the zoo’s management of unprofessional action.
“I think they panicked,” Inge-Marie Pearson told state broadcaster SVT.
The zoo revealed the identities of two of the monkeys killed: Linda and Torsten. A third monkey, known as Santino and Manda, may also have been killed, while officials fear that another monkey may have been killed.
After years of studying chimpanzee behavior, cognitive zoologists from Lund University suspended their collaboration with the Vorovec Zoo.
“I knew them personally. I used to hug Manda, I kissed Linda and I played tug-of-war with Santino,” said researcher Matthias Osphath, who explained that the monkeys had escaped from their cages several years ago while there were visitors in the park.
Santino was also known outside Sweden for his artistic skills, and was the favorite monkey of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria.