Dublin Zoo confirms three monkeys staged break-out during Storm Ophelia

None of the animals were harmed and they were all safely returned home

Dublin Zoo confirms three monkeys staged break-out during Storm Ophelia

File photo, a Sulawesi Crested Macaque and her infants at Marwell Zoo in the UK, 05-08-2003. Image: Chris Ison/PA Archive/PA Images

Dublin Zoo has confirmed that a daring group of monkeys escaped from their enclosure as Storm Ophelia was battering the country last October.

The three Sulawesi crested macaques staged the break-out while the zoo was closed due to a national Red Alert storm warning issued by Met Éireann.

A report into the incident reveals that the monkeys made a 20 foot jump onto an overhanging electric fence after the roof was blown off their enclosure.

The fugitives were eventually located in a nearby tree and were safely returned home.

The report was originally revealed by The Irish Times on foot of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The paper reports that a zookeeper raised the alarm after checking the monkey’s enclosure on the morning of October 17th.

Staff soon located the escapees 65ft off the ground in a nearby tree. The animal care team attempted to shoot the monkeys with tranquiliser darts but were unable to get a clear shot due to the high winds and tree branches.

The monkeys eventually climbed down two hours later.

One was caught with a net while the others were tranquilised. All three were returned to their enclosure after being examined by a vet.

In a statement this afternoon, the zoo said the “incident was dealt with swiftly effectively and no animal was harmed.”

It said a later ‘incident debrief’ found that the response from the animal care team was “robust and effective” while the zoo as a whole was found to have displayed an “excellent response time and communication between the animal care and security team.”

Since the incident, the zoo has made a number of alterations to the monkey’s island habitat - with the climbing frame lowered and the electrical fence increased.

The zoo has moved to reassure customers that it views visitor safety as paramount and insisted that all of its habitats either meet or exceed safety requirements.