Tokyo zoo stages 'zebra escape' drill

A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.PHOTO: AFP
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.PHOTO: AFP
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practice what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practice what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.PHOTO: AFP
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill. PHOTO: AFP
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
A zookeeper dressed as a zebra is surrounded by zookeepers during a drill to practise what to do in the event of an animal escape at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Feb 2, 2016. About 150 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.PHOTO: AFP
Zookeepers feign injuries following an attack by an "escaped zebra" during the drill.
Zookeepers feign injuries following an attack by an "escaped zebra" during the drill. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - A zebra escaped from its enclosure in a Japanese zoo on Tuesday (Feb 2), giving one keeper a heart attack and injuring another - at least that was the scenario of a drill aimed at dealing with runaway animals.

The zebra - actually a zoo staff member dressed up in a furry suit - supposedly bolted from a cage at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo after an earthquake destroyed its enclosure.

It then wandered around the zoo before ramming into a wall and sending a keeper to hospital with a heart attack.

After injuring another keeper, the zebra was subdued with a fake stun gun and bundled onto a nearby pickup truck, as curious zoo visitors looked on, laughing and taking photos.

"The zebra is an animal that easily panics," said 27-year-old Ms Yumi Tamura, who dressed as the zebra but usually cares for gorillas and monkeys.

"I myself felt panicky when acting it out," she told reporters.

Past simulations at Tokyo's city-run zoos have featured faux gorillas, rhinos, lions and orang utans making a break for freedom.

"Every year, a keeper plays the role of an escaping animal," said an Ueno Zoo spokesman.

"They know how the animals would act in the event of disaster and their escape."