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Chimpanzee rampage: Chaos at Canary Islands zoo after primates escape enclosure and attack three staff members


British holidaymakers were caught up in chaotic scenes at a zoo in the Canary Islands when three chimpanzees escaped their enclosure and attacked and injured three people, one seriously.

The three rescue animals – called King, Cheeta and Felipa – went on the rampage on Friday at the popular Oasis Park in Fueteventura, with police eventually having to shoot them with live ammunition after attempts to tranquilize them failed.

Two of the chimps, King and Felipa, were killed, while Cheeta survived after emergency treatment from vets.

The three injured were a park staff member and two of the owners, one of which was airlifted to a hospital in Las Palmas and given plastic surgery, according to the zoo.

It said in a statement that human error was to blame, with the animals escaping after ‘an incident in the security protocol’.

The park owners, it’s understood, fearlessly tried to lead the chimpanzees away from the public and back into their enclosure.

The chimps, who had been at the park for over 20 years, were all shot with tranquilizer darts, but when it was clear that they hadn’t had any effect, police turned their guns on them.


On Sunday the zoo, which recently received a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence, reported that Cheeta was ‘eating by herself… and even seeking contact and closeness with [her caregivers]’.

The three team members who were injured are reportedly in a stable condition.

The park, which reopened on Saturday, described the incident as ‘the saddest day in the history of Fuerteventura Oasis Park since it opened its doors in 1985’.

It added: ‘We’ve not had a second to stop and internalize what happened. So we ask you a little bit of empathy because we can assure you that this is very difficult for us.’

King and Cheeta were rescued in 1988 from a street photographer while Felipa was saved from animal traffickers by the Service for the Protection of Nature.



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