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McAllister asks for urgent review into zoo safety

Alliance North Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister has asked for an urgent review into safety measures at Belfast Zoo, after a chimpanzee escaped from its enclosure there.

Footage showed one chimp walking along a path beside members of the public, while other chimpanzees also climbed onto the enclosure wall after scaling tree branches propped up against a wall. It is the second incident the zoo in two weeks, after a red panda also escaped.

"I have contacted Belfast City Council to ask for an urgent review into the containment of animals, with a particular focus on safety measures after extreme bad weather conditions, as we saw at the weekend and which helped create the conditions for this escape," said Councillor McAllister.

"The Council has a duty of care around the welfare of animals at the zoo but we also need to ensure the safety at all times of the public. This incident could have easily resulted in an injury or worse - while chimps are intelligent creatures, they have been known to attack people.

"This is the second escape from the zoo this year and it is only February. While Belfast Zoo carries out good work in terms of conservation and breeding programmes, that is simply not good enough and we need to ensure it doesn't happen again."