- Title: JAPAN: Tokyo zoo captures mock zebra on the loose in earthquake preparation drill
- Date: 24th February 2008
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YOSHIAKI SAGAWA, 61, UENO ZOO SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "We cannot have drills like this with live animals, so using papier-mÃ¢chÃ© is our only choice."
- Embargoed: 10th March 2008 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVADVXBLDTVO1TWL3AF20LDKTSZR
- Story Text: A papier-mÃ¢chÃ© zebra on the loose runs around a Tokyo zoo, charging and kicking zookeepers during an earthquake drill aimed at preventing animals from panicking.
Many know Japan is prone to earthquakes, and Japanese zoos are concerned about that too.
That's why Tokyo zookeepers honed their skills Wednesday (February 20) in a mock drill aimed at capturing animals on the loose in case of a big earthquake.
Alarms were raised at Tokyo's Ueno zoo after a papier-mÃ¢chÃ© zebra, worn and played by two zoo workers, broke free from its pen and injured two zookeepers and a visitor.
"We cannot have drills like this with live animals, so using papier-mÃ¢chÃ© is our only choice," said Yoshiaki Sagawa, 61, the zoo's spokesman.
A total of some 150 zoo workers, policemen and ambulance crew played their part - some with hard-hat helmets, wielding sticks and nets in an attempt to capture the awkward zebra. The zebra finally fell to a fake tranquilizer gun.
This is an annual event that seeks to prepare Tokyo zookeepers for all the risks involved with keeping wild and sometimes irate animals.
But to many visitors, the event looked funny rather than serious.
"His tail looked so funny," said 4-year-old Futaba Amagasaki, who was visiting the zoo with her grandfather.
Tamayo Taira, a 35-year-old mother, said she had fun watching.
"I enjoyed the gap between the papier-mÃ¢chÃ©'s awkwardness and the zookeepers' seriousness," Taira said, holding her one-year-old daughter in her arms.
Every year, the drill features different escaped animal such as gorillas, lions and even rhinoceros.
The zookeepers in Japan have only had to deal with three escapees in the last 40 years.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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