Paris zoo shut after 50 baboons escape

Visitors to Paris Zoological Park evacuated as workers try to lure animals back to enclosures

The Paris Zoological Park has been evacuated and closed after dozens of baboons escaped their enclosure.

As zookeepers raced to round up the animals, armed police surrounded the popular attraction and sealed off nearby roads.

About 50 baboons were reported to have got out and congregated around the Grand Rocher, the fake rock centrepiece of the zoo, on Friday morning. Most had been rounded up and sent back to their shelters a few hours later, but four remained on the loose.

Officials at the zoo said the animals had not come in contact with the public as they had remained in areas inaccessible to visitors.

Members of the public had been evacuated as a precaution because baboons could be unpredictable “especially when stressed”. “They’re stronger than us,” they added.

The emergency services were called, and keepers, vets and a team carrying tranquilliser darts were on the scene in minutes and surrounded the animals.

The zoo said it was confident the remaining animals would be persuaded to return to their enclosure. “The dominant males have already gone back,” an official said.

The park in Vincennes covers a 14.5-hectare area on the eastern edge of the French capital. It reopened in April 2014 after a €133m (£116m) facelift. Clever landscaping, including fake rocks and boulders, acts as a trompe-l’œil to disguise that the site’s 1,000 animals and 180 species are in captivity.

The Grand Rocher, which was built to conceal two water reservoirs and resembles the backdrop to a King Kong movie, dominates the skyline and is the symbol of the zoo.


Kim Willsher in Paris

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Barry the manatee drowns at Paris zoo after getting stuck in pool shaft

Three-year-old mammal has died just a month after joining refurbished wildlife park at Vincennes

Anne Penketh in Paris

19, Aug, 2014 @11:34 AM

Article image
Three chimpanzees shot dead after escape from Swedish zoo
Furuviksparken zoo said the animals ‘tragically’ had to be put down because of the danger to the public

Jon Henley and agencies

14, Dec, 2022 @5:26 PM

Article image
After Vélib’ bikes and Autolib’ cars, Paris adds mopeds to hire fleet
Organisers say low-cost vehicle emits no noise or fumes, although its maximum speed is unlikely to impress Top Gear

Kim Willsher in Paris

21, Jun, 2016 @5:23 PM

Article image
Police to visit UK zoos and wildlife parks after rhino killing in France
Britain’s wildlife crime head says urgent security checks are needed to protect 111 rhinos in UK after attack near Paris

Caroline Davies

08, Mar, 2017 @4:43 PM

Article image
Anne Hidalgo likely to be reelected as Paris mayor after forging green alliance
Opinion poll puts Socialist at 44% of intentions to vote, well ahead of her closest rival

Kim Willsher

07, Jun, 2020 @1:13 PM

Article image
Paris floods: 'There's something terrifying about it'
As roads and walkways are submerged by floods, life goes on in Paris and beyond

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

04, Jun, 2016 @6:26 AM

Article image
Paris on flooding alert as rising Seine causes travel disruption
Part of the Louvre museum is closed as the river is forecast to reach 6.1 metres by Saturday – three times its normal height

Kim Willsher in Paris

25, Jan, 2018 @2:05 AM

Article image
Marais: the chic Paris district where rats outnumber residents
Rodents are nothing new in big cities, but in French capital they number four million, forcing politicians to take ‘de-ratting’ action

Kim Willsher in Paris

19, Dec, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Eiffel Tower revamp to turn roads into garden in heart of Paris
€72m makeover will create mile-long stretch of pools, fountains and parks

Kim Willsher in Paris

07, Jun, 2019 @12:22 PM

Article image
Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianise city centre
Anne Hidalgo says she wants to cut the number of cars in French capital by half as part of campaign to tackle pollution

Kim Willsher in Paris

08, Jan, 2017 @2:34 PM