Chaos as monkey escapes busy UK zoo forcing visitors to hide in a restaurant

A monkey caused “chaos” after escaping from an enclosure at a popular zoo in Devon.

Guests were evacuated from a section of Paignton Zoo as staff tried to recapture the escaped primate.

An eyewitness told Devon Live that visitors had been shepherded into a restaurant on the 80-acre site as a “code red” warning was triggered by the escape.

The emergency alert was later downgraded, according to reports.

The eyewitness said: “Guests were enclosed in certain areas and stopped from going to the bottom end of the zoo.”

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They added: “Add that onto all play areas closed, crocodile swamp and giraffe house all closed – it’s chaos.”

Some visitors took to X, formerly known as Twitter, after the monkey’s dash for freedom. One wrote: “At Paignton Zoo and we’ve all been turfed into the restaurant because an animal has escaped”.

Another wrote: “Having a summer fun day at @PaigntonZoo and we’ve all been hurried to safety urgently”.

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The zoo, which keeps more than 2,000 animals and is celebrating its 100th anniversary, said its staff managed to catch the beast quickly with an investigation launched to find out how it escaped.

A Paignton Zoo spokesperson said: “Earlier today (August 22), staff at Paignton Zoo had to attend to an incident involving an escaped monkey.

“As a precautionary measure, zoo visitors were evacuated from the area in accordance with our well-rehearsed escaped animal procedure and the animal was re-captured without incident shortly after the alert was raised.

“We are currently investigating how this incident occurred and would like to thank everyone who was at the zoo this morning for their patience and co-operation.”

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