KC Zoo guests shelter in place after elephant climbs out of enclosure

May 30, 2019 - 6:16 am

Kansas City, MO - The Kansas City Zoo declared a Code Red emergency Wednesday when a young African elephant displayed surprising agility by attempting to climb out of his enclosure.

"He found a little ledge, he'd decided to do some exploring, and climbed up to about a four-foot level, and then climbed up another four foot," said Randy Wisthoff, zoo director.

Tamani, a male elephant, made his way to the edge of his outdoor habitat, an old rock quarry. Employees dropped what they were doing around the park. Half of them surrounded Tamani and the rest went to guide guests to safety, where they sheltered in place for about an hour.

Randy Wisthoff, executive director/CEO at the Kansas City Zoo, shares how an elephant escaped his enclosure today: pic.twitter.com/ZmCmcVC0oc

— Kaitlyn Schwers (@kaitlynschwers) May 29, 2019

"With a lot of patience, and a lot of time, and a lot of buckets of food coaxed him to come back down into the exhibit," Wisthoff said.

The incident was unprecedented.

"Nothing like this has ever happened," Wisthoff said. "This guy is way too athletic for his own good, probably too smart, too."

The zoo plans to take out the rock ledges in the elephant exhibit.

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