Taronga lions escaped out through faulty fence

Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has revealed how five lions managed to escape their enclosure last week – and how another two slipped through a second fence.

Last week, news broke that five lions at Taronga Zoo managed to escape their enclosure, resulting in a shutdown at the zoo.

In an update on Friday, Taronga said the five lions – one adult and four cubs – escaped because of a fence failure.

“Preliminary independent engineering advice has confirmed that swages (clamps that join wire cables together) failed, enabling a lacing cable that connects the fence mesh to a tension cable to unravel,” the statement confirmed.

“The lions were then able to create and squeeze through a gap.”

Taronga Zoo added the preliminary review had recommended an  independent tensile-structure engineer carry out detailed investigations to learn more about why the failure happened and how to repair it.

Taronga zoo lions

Five lions escaped their enclosure at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

Taronga review reveals what lions got up to

The review into the incident continues, however, Taronga Zoo did reveal what the lions were doing before they escaped through the fence and what they did after.

The four cubs and adult male, Ato, “played and interacted” with the fence for about 20 minutes before they managed to get out.

The lioness, Maya, and another cub remained in the exhibit while the others fled. Maya and the cub were recalled to their dens by keepers.

After the five lions escaped, the zoo went into emergency mode to monitor and control the situation. The code one alert included responses by staff in multiple vehicles, and the rapid evacuation of “Roar and Snore” guests in a safe room.

Keepers were able to use their relationships with the lions and their training to calmly call the big cats back to the exhibit.

Ato and the cubs were found on the other side of the main containment fence but were just metres from their own exhibit. They also tried to find their way back under the fence.

Taronga Zoo said all of the escaped lions remained calm while they explored the outside of their enclosure.

However, two cubs managed to get out past a secondary fence, although still remaining within the zoo.

One cub made its own way back to the enclosure. The other was safely tranquillised and then returned to its den.

“Taronga will continue to review the incident and share more information in due course,” the zoo said.

“The lions will continue to remain in an outdoor, back-of-house holding area pending the specialist engineering advice.”

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