Friday, January 06, 2006

Zoo says no more chimps after escape, killing of three others

Zoo Nebraska will no longer house chimpanzees after the escape and subsequent killing of three of the primates from the small-town zoo during the fall, the zoo director said.

Ken Schlueter Jr. said the board of directors at the zoo in Royal decided in recent weeks not to bring back the final surviving chimp, currently being housed in Missouri.

"Even though our facility has the same standards as everybody else, it's just very difficult to take care of them," Schlueter said of the chimpanzees.

Schlueter said Thursday from his home in the northeastern Nebraska village of 75, that the zoo wouldn't be able to afford another chimpanzee and it would be unfair to have Ripley, 17, living without another chimp.

He said safety was also a concern following the incident in mid-September when three chimps, a staple at the zoo, escaped from a cage when a padlock was not completely closed after cleaning. Schlueter killed the animals with a deputy's service revolver after a tranquilizer gun didn't show any effect. The fourth chimpanzee also escaped, but quickly returned to its cage. No one was hurt.

"We just don't want to put the community through that," Schlueter said.

Story here.

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