Japanese zoo practices lion escape protocol in hilarious drill

Osaka, Japan - Tennoji Zoo practiced what to do in case of a lion escape in the most hysterical way.

The Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan, has a very unique way of practicing what to do in case of a lion escape (stock image).
The Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan, has a very unique way of practicing what to do in case of a lion escape (stock image).  © 123rf/stuporter

A Tennoji Zoo employee in Osaka, Japan, donned a full-body lion suit in order to play the role of the escaped predatory cat.

But the lion suit wasn't very life-like. Instead, it looked more like it belonged on a football team mascot.

The "lion" then proceeded to prowl through the facility on two legs while confused visitors looked on.

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The keeper's coworkers, on the other hand, did their best to act as if a real animal had escaped from its cage.

They approached the "lion" in full protective gear and with nets and shields. The local fire department was even part of the drill.

Disaster drills are common practice in Japan, as it's one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. This practice was about coordinating what to do if a lion got out of its enclosure during opening hours, which could happen in case of an earthquake tremor.

A zoo spokesperson told the dpa on Friday, "For visitors, this may have looked amusing, but for us it was a serious exercise." Emergency forces cornered the "lion," which looked more funny than threatening, exactly by the book, with shields and poles.

At the end of the exercise, a veterinarian used a tranquilizer gun to take down the "lion." A clip posted on Twitter shows the "lion" dramatically falling to the ground as the sedative kicks in. Keepers then put the animal in a net and drive off. Drill complete.

Cover photo: 123rf/stuporter

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