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Fake zebra escape at a zoo in Japan

Report & Video by Lauren Hood

Staff at Tama Zoo in Japan have run a drill to prepare for an animal escape, by dressing an employee in a zebra costume and capturing him.

They were participating in a training exercise designed to train them how to react in the event of earthquake that lets an animal out.

While the costumed zebra employee is significantly slower than the real thing, Park Director Naoki Tabata said that the event was to raise staff's awareness: "If something major actually happens, then of course there's the real animals.

"But there is a performance aspect to this, in that it's also to increase staff's awareness. If something were to actually escape then of course that would be very bad."

For onlookers who watched the spectacle, some were interested to see how staff would react.

"I came today and just happened to see this, and seeing how they would actually capture something if it managed to escape was actually quite nice," said 30-year-old Yohei Hanzawa who came with his two children.

The zoo has been holding training scenarios like this since 1980 when the exercise used a goat to stand-in for a lion, although every time since then, humans have taken the role of the escaped animal.

The whole exercise lasted about an hour and involved over 50 staff along with local emergency workers before the escaped zebra was 'tranquillised' and finally caught.


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