Taronga Zoo: Five lions escape exhibit at Sydney zoo

Taronga Zoo: Five lions escape exhibit at Sydney zoo
Lions pictured at Taronga Zoo Getty Images

5 lions have started a brief emergency at an Australian zoo after escaping from their housing.

The animals – one adult and four cubs – were spotted outside their exhibit at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo about 6: 30 local period on Wednesday (22: 30 GMT Tuesday).

The zoo had been put in lockdown and one cub had to be tranquillised but all elephants were secured inside minutes, a spokesman said. No-one was injured.

An explanation for the escape has not been provided.

But zoo professional director Simon Duffy called it a “significant incident” that might be investigated.

He informed local media longshots had entered a small area “adjacent” for their exhibit – regarding 100m from where guests were staying in the zoo overnight. The main zoo was closed at the time.

“At no time did longshots exit that [adjacent] area or exit Taronga Zoo, ” he said.

Mr Duffy added the small region was protected by a six-foot fence generally used to keep individuals at a safe distance, and the entire zoo was surrounded by a perimeter fence.

LOW LUX footage had demonstrated that a keeper elevated the alarm inside 10 minutes of the get away, the zoo said.

Staff responded quickly to move all people on the site to safe places, according to Mr Duffy. Four of the elephants “calmly made their own way back” for their enclosure.

The lion exhibit will remain shut until further home inspections to make sure it is “100% safe”, Mr Duffy added.

Animal escapes at Australian zoos are rare.

Last year, a lioness escaped its enclosure at Mogo Zoo, southern of Sydney, and had to be shot deceased because of the danger it posed to the public.