More than a dozen animals intentionally were released from their pens in Irvine Park Zoo sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Bill Faherty, Chippewa Falls parks, recreation and forestry director, said two holes were cut in a chain fence that separates the public from the animal cages.
"They were large enough for a body to get through," Faherty said.
The vandals then cut open several cages, allowing three porcupines, two coatimundi (similar to raccoons) and two capuchin monkeys to escape.
"They also let out all the buffalo," Faherty said. "They cut the locks, and they opened the sliding gate."
All eight buffalo returned to their pen in the morning to be fed, he said.
During the day Wednesday one of the porcupines, acoatimundi and a monkey were captured. Another porcupine had been spotted, and workers were trying to get it down from a tree. As of 9 p.m. the three remaining missing animals still were loose and presumably still in the park, Faherty said.
The parks department followed its emergency plan for such a scenario, immediately closing all gates in the park after the damage was discovered. Because the animals are loose, no vehicle traffic was allowed in the park Wednes-day.
The park will remain closed to vehicle traffic this morning as the search continues.
"People walking through, we've told them the situation, and some have helped us look for them," Faherty said. "I don't think there is any danger to the public."
The monkey could attack if provoked, but it likely will shy away from human contact, he said.
Faherty said this is the first time anyone has intentionally let out animals in the park.
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