Police kill 2 chimpanzees after escaping from zoo in Colombia

Police kill 2 chimpanzees after escaping from zoo in Colombia

Zoo is mourning loss of Pancho and Chita

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Ukumari Biopark regretted the escape of the two chimpanzees, Pancho and Chita, from their habitat area, who finally had to be sacrificed in the early hours of Monday morning in the Municipality of Cerritos, in the city of Pereira in Colombia.

Around 9:00 pm local time on Sunday, two of the three chimpanzees that lived in the park got out of their cages and fled, Sandra Correa, director of Ukumari explained in a press conference. Immediately, park caretakers, veterinarians, firefighters, police and army uniformed personnel activated the code red to find them.

"The community in general, especially in the village of Cerritos, is requested to take shelter in their homes and avoid contact with the chimpanzee. This is a wild animal that can react aggressively," said the mayor of Pereira, Carlos Maya.

At around 3:00 am on Monday, Ukumari informed in a press statement that they were in mourning for the loss of Pancho and Cheetah, and confirmed that the zoo will not be open to the public on Monday.

"From the Ukumari Biopark we regret to inform the loss of two of our chimpanzees,” the statement said. “Two individuals who for many years were under our care, protection and with their personalities stole the hearts of all visitors. As an institution we recognize that this loss will generate deep sadness and pain not only in our family of collaborators, but also in the communities that during these seven years of operation have believed in us and in our daily work to guarantee the welfare of the animals," it added.

Pancho was seen wandering around in Cerritos on Sunday night, while Chita only moved meters away from her habitat. One of them was killed by the Police and the other by the Army, authorities confirmed.

In response to the strong criticism, the police assured that they acted this way to safeguard the life of the zoo's caretakers, who were close to being attacked by both animals.

"It hurts a lot, but we had to protect human lives," said Correa.​​​​​​​

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