Swedish Zoo Shoots and Kills Chimps After Animals Escape Exhibit: 'We Take Full Responsibility'

"If a chimpanzee is loose in the park, it is a danger to human life, and then the only way out is to shoot to kill the animal," the Furuviksparken zoo in Gävle, Sweden, wrote in a statement

Photo: Getty

At least three chimpanzees were shot and killed after escaping their enclosure at a Swedish zoo On Wednesday.

According to officials at the Furuviksparken zoo near Gävle, two other primates escaped the chimpanzee house on the same day.

"We informed our staff who were able to get to safety, and we alerted the police," the zoo said in a statement about the incident on its website. "For security reasons, shooters were placed in the park, and we also put the chimpanzee house under surveillance."

The zoo, located about 110 miles north of Stockholm, took forceful action because "chimpanzees are strong animals and have a high-risk classification," it said in the statement.

"If a chimpanzee is loose in the park, it is a danger to human life, and then the only way out is to shoot to kill the animal. During the day, unfortunately, three chimpanzees had to be euthanized for safety reasons," the statement continued.

The zoo said as of Thursday morning that its "remaining four chimpanzees" are now inside the house but not confined to their enclosures.

"This means that we cannot yet allow people to move freely in the park, and we are still on full alert," the zoo shared.

Meanwhile, Swedish media reported that four — not three — of the five chimpanzees that escaped might have been killed; the zoo itself added in its statement that it is still waiting for confirmation on the number.

"It is important that it gets right, and we will get back to you as soon as we can," the statement said.

Zoo spokeswoman Annika Troselius confirmed to TV4 that the zoo "didn't have enough anesthetic," which led to the tragic situation.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"That's why we called for the marksmen," she said. "This whole situation is tragic in every possible way. We take full responsibility."

The zoo, which serves as the only primate research station in the Nordic region, is currently closed for the season, The Guardian reported.

"This is an extremely tragic situation for all involved, both animals and people," the zoo wrote. "Our thoughts go out to all employees, our animals, and everyone who cares for our animals. The grief is extremely heavy."

Related Articles