Everybody loves an animal escape story, whether it’s the thrilling potential of a whole lot going very wrong very quickly, the sheer audacity of the creatures, or you’re just #teamescapee. This latest one involves a baby antelope with a ludicrous moniker (well, “bongo” is ludicrous) who made a brief but inexplicable escape from her enclosure at Sacramento Zoo on Sunday.
“Taylor Swift”, a 1-year-old eastern bongo, escaped the enclosure she shares with mom Penny at around 3.30pm on Sunday, prompting the quick evacuation of the zoo so staff could calmly herd her back home.
Bongos are critically endangered antelopes that usually reside in the rainforests of central Africa. There are thought to be fewer than 150 left in the wild, thanks to their beautiful hide, so the birth of TS at the zoo last September was particularly exciting; her unusual name stems from the fact she was “very swiftly on her feet” after birth, determined to explore.
Her adventurous nature managed to get her in a spot of trouble this time though. Visitors to the zoo spotted her wandering down the main path in the common visitor area, perhaps looking to form her own squad of like-minded friends.
“Initially we had a few conflicting visitor reports,” Laura Vincent, a spokesperson for the zoo, told the Sacramento Bee. ”The confirmation came from a staff member who made a visual confirmation and used our emergency radios to alert all staff.”
Keepers are unsure how she escaped her enclosure, but immediately jumped into action, closing the zoo, and escorting visitors either to a safe place, or instructing them to move into the gift shop.
“Staff used baffle boards and tables to gently guide the calf down the pathway and up the back road to her off-exhibit holding area,” Vincent added.
The whole thing only took 15 minutes, but bongos are shy, and easily startled, so the utmost care was taken to ensure she didn’t come into contact with anyone and it was a calm, measured affair.
Taylor Swift did suffer a couple of scrapes, according to the zoo’s vet who took a close look at her afterward, but she managed to shake it off and is otherwise unharmed, healthy, and safe – and probably now armed with her own enthusiastic fanbase.
[H/T: BBC News]