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 7:42 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
updated 6:12 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
From giant zippers to buttock-shaped balloons, Jun Kitagawa's public art is whimsical, erotic and playful.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
updated 5:16 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
updated 11:48 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
updated 8:43 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
updated 8:40 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT