Melbourne Zoo Went Into Lockdown After A False Alarm Told Visitors A Baboon Was On The Loose

Melbourne Zoo went into lockdown today after a false alert caused staff to think a baboon had escaped.

Tourists were left trapped in an Orangutan viewing area after staff members responded to the emergency alert and huddled them inside.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, one zoo patron said they were looking at animals when they saw a staff member rushing towards visitors.

“There was a lady going around saying ‘can you all get in the enclosure, there’s a baboon on the loose’,” they said.

People were reportedly waiting in the viewing area for about 10 to 15 minutes while the zoo located the missing animal.

However, the escape turned out to be a false alarm.

“Melbourne Zoo went into lockdown for less than 10 minutes this afternoon when an Emergency Alert was mistakenly activated,” the zoo said in a statement.

“There was no emergency and visitors were able to continue enjoying their Zoo visit.”

The zoo patron described the incident as “funny”, saying they didn’t mind the disruption to their day.

“It was only 15 minutes — I’d rather not get attacked by a baboon,” they said.

“It was a fun adventure.”

The zoo has a large number of baboons and the numbers have flourished since the opening of the Baboon Lookout exhibit in 2011.

“There have been a lot of baboons born in the past few years at Melbourne Zoo, and we believe a lot of that comes down to their wonderful exhibit,” Melbourne Zoo Primate Keeper Andrew Thompson said after the birth of two baboons in 2019.

“It’s a home that recreates their natural environment in the wild, the north-east African savannah.”

It’s not the first time escaped baboons have made the headlines. In 2020, a Sydney hospital went into lockdown after three baboons escaped from a truck in the city’s inner-west.

The baboons were reportedly being transported for treatment when they escaped. The animals, which can attack if they feel threatened, were quickly recaptured.