Skip to main content

Japanese zookeepers successfully capture fake gorilla

By Wilfred Chan, CNN
updated 1:57 AM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
Staff at Japan's Ueno Zoo practiced capturing escaped animals by chasing around one of their colleagues wearing a gorilla suit. Staff at Japan's Ueno Zoo practiced capturing escaped animals by chasing around one of their colleagues wearing a gorilla suit.
HIDE CAPTION
Monkeying around
Monkeying around
Monkeying around
Monkeying around
Monkeying around
Rip-off rhino
Not impressed
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Japanese zoo practiced capturing escaped animals by chasing colleague in gorilla suit
  • "I tried to feel what an animal might feel," said zookeeper wearing the costume
  • In 2004, the drill was conducted with two men inside rhinoceros costume

(CNN) -- Could you catch a wild gorilla? What about a person dressed as a gorilla?

This week, staff at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo practiced capturing escaped animals by chasing around one of their colleagues wearing a gorilla suit.

Visitors gaped as scores of helmet-wearing keepers surrounded the "gorilla" with cars and nets. Staff then pretended to tranquilize their coworker, who swooned dramatically and collapsed to the ground.

The acting ape was immediately wrapped in a large net and hauled away on a truck.

The escaped animal drill at the Tokyo zoo is conducted every other year, and this time zookeeper Natsumi Uno was chosen to wear the animal costume.

"In our work there may be times when we need to capture an animal, but we would never be the ones being captured," Uno told reporters.

"So I tried to feel what an animal might feel and realized when they were on the run they would be scared. That's how I felt."

But some onlookers were barely moved. One Japanese user posted on Twitter, "Ueno Zoo's escape drill wasn't tense at all."

Another wrote, "The gorilla escape drill was so laid back! Made me laugh."

The practice is part of the city's earthquake preparedness drills, where city workers prepare for scenarios that may occur in the event of an earthquake.

That includes capturing raging beasts.

In the past, the Ueno Zoo has tried using different animal outfits: In 2004, two men ran around the zoo while wearing a giant papier-mâché rhinoceros over their heads.

The technique isn't just Japanese -- in 2012, the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts practiced capturing an employee in a giraffe costume. The year before that, zookeepers in China "caught" a man dressed as Tigger from the "Winnie the Pooh" cartoon.

Of course, real animals are more difficult to catch.

When an actual monkey escaped from the Ueno Zoo in 2010, it took six hours before officials finally netted it in the basement of a neighboring restaurant.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT