Visitors face to face with escaped chimps: ‘My daughter began to scream’

Before the two escaped chimpanzees were shot to death in DierenPark Amersfoort, they caused quite a stir in the park. Some visitors stood face to face with the animals.

โ€œ He came right at usโ€, visitors say to RTV Utrecht:

โ€œ We were really just in and heard very loud monkey sounds. So we thought, they probably just get to eat,โ€ says a visitor to RTV Utrecht. โ€œBut then people came running at us who shouted that monkeys were coming. Then you start panicking a little bit.โ€

The wife and her daughter were temporarily holed up on a slide. โ€œThen I saw the monkey walking. He came at us and my daughter started screaming.โ€ At one point, the chimpanzee ran away and the two fled to a safe place in an elephant shelter. โ€œWe‘ve been in there for at least an hour.โ€

Another visitor also hid in the elephant shelter. โ€œI saw the monkeys and I thought, run!โ€ She said there was no panic, but the caregivers were a little nervous. โ€œOf course, that’s not crazy. It‘s also an exciting situation. This does not happen every week. So you don’t know what‘s happening.โ€

Hok was not properly closed

The animals escaped from their quarters around 10.30 a.m. They were able to escape because a caregiver had not sealed the shelter properly.

DierenPark Amersfoort writes in a statement that immediately after the escape was detected the protocol ‘Animal Escape‘ was set in motion. โ€œThis means, among other things, that visitors and employees are brought to safety and that the escaped animal is traced.โ€ Eventually, the animals were shot to death because they showed impressive behavior.


According to behavioural biologist Godelieve Kranendonk of Stichting AAP, the animal carers have made the right choice. โ€œChimpanzees are potentially life-threatening. Especially when they show aggressive behavior. Don’t take any chances and shoot the animals is the best thing.โ€

Kranendonk argues that simply anesthetizing the animals was not an option. โ€œIn films you see that a monkey is shot with a tranquilizer dart and that the animal immediately sinks. In real life, it can take up to half an hour, or the anesthetic does not work at all because the animal is full of adrenaline.โ€ In addition, the attack and pain caused by a dart can make the animals even more aggressive.