One week after four llamas, a yak, and a wallaby escaped from High Park Zoo, Torontoist is pleased to report that all animals are absolutely fine following their midnight jaunt.
Sonya Dittkrist, the zookeeper on duty, told Torontoist that none of the animals were hurt during their unexpected pleasure excursion, and that everything is back to normal. “Nobody seems that different following their outing,” she said, deftly catching a squirming baby llama (known as a cria) trying to opt out of its routine coat brushing.
Miscreants broke a fence and two chains and locks in the middle of the night last Wednesday, and left gates at either end of the zoo swinging. A citizen in the park alerted an officer on patrol, who found the animals wandering around outside their pens.
Police cordoned off the park, rounded up the beasts, and returned them to their enclosures. Although the wallaby and the yak went quietly, the llamas were not as compliant and it took zoo staff arriving at dawn to deliver them home.
No word has come from Toronto Police yet on the progress of the investigation into the incident. And the crime is not the first of its kind in the history of High Park Zoo. In February 1999 there was a break-in at the deer enclosure, but this did not have such a happy ending; two deer were slashed with a machete and another taken away, supposedly for its meat.
The broken part of the fence at the llama enclosure has now been replaced, and the wallabies and yaks are now firmly behind another pair of padlocks. Another part of the fence, a little further down from where the llamas escaped, displays evidence of a possible initial failed attempt to cut it open. It may not be a coincidence that all the animals that escaped are native to faraway continents, namely South America, Australia, and central Asia. Reports of discarded airline tickets found in the food troughs remain unconfirmed.
All photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.