Great escapes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

The future of the Long Island
Game Farm in Manorville, New York,
remains uncertain more than three months
after the June 5 escape of Barney
Chimpanzee, 19, when a caretaker left both
padlocks on the double door to the chimp’s
cage unfastened.
According to Newsday columnist
Paul Vitello, the rampaging chimp bit
owner Stanley Novak, 63, on the head and
arm, shrugged off a man who hit him with a
fence post, and charged toward a children’s
maze. Six to eight mothers, teachers, and
assistants from the LaSalle School in
Oakdale shoved more than 100 kindergartners
and first graders into the maze; assistant
teacher Sharon Goff, mother Jill Fuchs,
and a mother identified only as Mrs. Kelly
then locked arms to block the entrance.


As the chimp jumped on Goff and
beat Kelly, Vitello reported, other adults
including zoo staff climbed atop the maze,
crushing a woman who was inside with her
children, 10 months and two years old,
until Fuchs pushed all three to safety.
Turning away, Barney scrambled up a tree
in a nearby picnic area. Keeper Glen
Gilmore, 31, who spoon-fed Barney last
winter, tried first to calm him, but when
Barney leaped down at Gilmore, flailing his
arms and grunting, Gilmore killed him with
three shotgun blasts.
Novak put the unaccredited zoo up
for sale about two weeks later. He founded
it in 1970, and runs it with the help of
daughter Melinda, 32. Charging twice the
admission price of the Bronx Zoo, a few
miles away, the Long Island Game Farm
has often been criticized for substandard
conditions, but according to American
SPCA wildlife programs coordinator Kathi
Travers, has usually remained within the
letter of the Animal Welfare Act.
In other noted zoo-breaks, a fiveyear-old
Japanese macaque escaped on June
16 from the Animal Kingdom Pet Store and
Zoo in Springfield, New Jersey, causing a
local stir but doing no harm, while on July
17 a young male orangutan named Mia
undid the security nut on a nine-inch bolt
holding a tree together in his exhibit at the
Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin,
and broke $21,000 worth of triple-pane glass
with it before he was stopped.
Singapore Zoo staff tried first to
tranquilize an escaped Malayan tiger on
August 31, as he stalked African cattle
called ankole in another exhibit, but finally
shotgunned him when he seemed ready to
leap a seven-foot fence into a 2,000-acre
woods that separates the zoo from the densely
populated remainder of the island citystate.
The tiger, one of 17 at the zoo, had
already swum a 33-foot moat and scaled a
15-foot wall.
The most successful zoo-breaks of
the spring and summer came in Europe. In
Warsaw, Poland, a wart hog awaiting
transfer to the San Diego Zoo broke out of
quarantine on April 2, and at last report was
still at large. Japanese macaques, also
called snow monkeys, could meanwhile
establish themselves at large near Villach,
Austria, where on August 13 most of a
newly-arrived 40-member troupe escaped
from a small zoo into nearly woods. If they
can forage enough to eat, they are believed
to be able to survive the Austrian winter.

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