A red panda, a pelican and a massive bull are just some of the animals to have escaped their enclosures at Edinburgh Zoo in recent years, it was revealed yesterday.
The news follows reports of a “near miss” when a giant panda was let back into its enclosure while a keeper was still cleaning it out last year.
Other animals to have fled their holdings at the zoo include a red river hog, an ibis, a Bateleur eagle, a macaw and a Madagascan teal.
Biggest of the escapees was a 95-stone Heck cattle bull which got out, forcing visitors and staff to take refuge.
The adult male was on the loose for about 40 minutes before it was tranquillised by a team of keepers and vets but later had to be put down.
Four red river hogs also escaped during a transfer. The two adults and two youngsters were recaptured a short while later and continued to their new home.
The data, released by the City of Edinburgh Council following a freedom of information request, also shows that the week before the bull escaped, a scarlet ibis was recaptured after fleeing the zoo and evading its keepers for six days.
The rare bird left its enclosure through a hole in the netting and its bright red plumage was spotted by residents across the Capital. Zookeepers tracked the two-year-old female to the Cramond area and then tempted the bird into a trap.
A year later, an eagle made a bid for freedom which turned into a standoff with an angry mob of rival birds.
Kousteau, a bateleur eagle native to Africa’s savannah, flew away from the confines of the zoo bound for nearby Corstorphine streets while taking part in a birds of prey show on June 22, 2013.
A daring 48-hour escapade turned into a showdown with a flock of seagulls and crows near the grounds of Forrester High School.
Local birds in the midst of mating season had resorted to dive bombing and chasing the distressed eagle in efforts to evict the intruder from their territory.
Zoo staff attempted to entice the eight-year-old bird down using dead mice, chickens and rats.
In July this year, a red panda also went on the run.
Bruce, who arrived at the zoo on Valentine’s Day, took a walk on the wild side by scaling the perimeter overhang before slipping out of the open-topped enclosure, before being scooped up by keepers and returned to a temporary accommodation.
A zoo spokesman said: “Our procedures place particular emphasis on public safety (moving visitors to safe areas if required), staff safety (proper training, equipment and so on), and animal welfare (safe return of the animal to its enclosure).
“All our staff receive regular training in our animal escape procedures, and our living collections team are trained in animal capture and restraint methods for a range of species. We also have in-house veterinary and firearms teams to assist in case of emergency, as is the case for major zoos up and down the country.
“Should an incident occur, we would immediately notify the licensing authority and, once resolved, we would conduct a thorough investigation to prevent further incidents occurring.”