Two chimpanzees, Pancho and Chita, were killed in Colombia on Monday after escaping from Ukumari Biopark in Pereira on Sunday.
Late Sunday night, a state of high alert was declared after the chimpanzees escaped from the zoo. Some hours later, authorities tracked down Pancho, the male chimpanzee, roughly 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the zoo.
Alexandra Diaz, a representative from the Colombian police force, stated that chimpanzee Pancho was killed after he allegedly attempted to threaten a zookeeper who was part of the rescue team.
She added that an order had been issued to shoot in case of an attack rather than resorting to tranquilizer darts. Animal rights organization Animal Defenders International (ADI) was shocked to learn that killing was preferred over tranquilizing.
Diaz justified this decision, stating, “There was an imminent need to act to safeguard the life of the park official.”
Chita, the female chimp who had fled with Pancho, was also found and killed near the park; Diaz offered no additional details about the incident.
The zoo expressed its sadness in a public statement, saying the deaths of Pancho and Chita, both beloved by visitors, were deeply sad.
According to initial reports, human negligence may have been responsible for the primates’ escape.
Pancho had escaped once before, in 2007. “Ukumarí Biopark must have known that Pancho had previously escaped, yet they didn’t put sufficient measures in place to prevent it from happening again, and now Pancho and Chita have paid for their error with their lives,” ADI said, urging the zoo to release their remaining chimpanzees to “a specialized primate sanctuary where their needs can be best met.”Donate