Planet of the Apes, written by French novelist Pierre Boulle in 1963, is a science-fiction-as-social-satire work that explores civilisation and identity. The 1968 film adaptation of the same name and the four sequels it spawned in just five years’ time are about something much more important: what if apes had guns. We fear apes. We fear their intelligence and their big strong muscles. While we might not think about it consciously day-to-day, deep in our unconscious mind is a fear that apes will overcome us and use our own technology against us. Is it an irrational fear? Maybe. Or maybe it’s perfectly rational, as evidenced by this footage of chimpanzees making an escape from their enclosure in Belfast Zoo using an improvised ladder.
Despite an off-screen child audibly yelling “No ecscape (sic), bad little gorilla (sic)!” at the chimpanzee, it did indeed leave the enclosure, whereupon it encountered zoogoer Chantal Baxter, who told the BBC that the chimp “just appeared from behind a bush“.
Danielle Monaghan, who uploaded video to Facebook of the chimpanzee wandering around on the path outside the enclosure, described the situation as “mental“:
Zoo manager Alyn Cairns told the BBC that they believed that recent storms had weakened a tree in their enclosure, allowing them to snap off branches and construct the ladder. He also decided, for some reason, to attack the character of the chimps, describing them as “quite cowardly“, suggesting that that is why they quickly retreated back to their enclosure, despite having the opportunity to make a break for it.
This is not the first breakout to happen in the zoo in recent memory, with a red panda managing to escape overnight thanks to an electrical fault in an electric fence that makes up part of its enclosure.
Sure, the apes didn’t take over this time, but it’s only a matter of time.