Singapore bull run: Panther, hippo and other famous animal escapees over the years

A bull is literally on the run after escaping from a dairy farm in Lim Chu Kang on April 9, 2019. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The search party having a briefing prior to their search for the missing bull within the Viknesh Dairy Farm on April 10, 2019. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The cow escaped from an enclosure similar to the one pictured at Viknesh Dairy Farm on April 10, 2019. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The hunt for a bull on the loose is still ongoing at least 14 hours after it was reported missing from a dairy farm in Lim Chu Kang.

The animal escaped from its enclosure on Tuesday (April 9), and the Singapore Food Agency said that it is working with the National Parks Board and the farm to locate it.

They may be rare, but instances of animals on the run have been reported in Singapore in the past.

The Straits Times looks at other escaped animals that made the news over the years:

1. Black panther, 1973

About four months before the Singapore Zoo was set to open its doors in 1973, a black panther disappeared from the premises, sparking a massive hunt involving the police and army.

Two sun bears also escaped from the zoo just days earlier.

On the second day of the panther's escape, officers shot at a black animal in the forest. But it turned out to be one of the escaped sun bears.

While the panther was later found, it suffocated to death during an attempt to scare it into nets using fire.

2. Hippopotamus, 1974

Another zoo resident, Congo the hippopotamus, escaped in 1974, and stayed in Upper Seletar Reservoir for 52 days.

Zookeepers finally lured it into a crate with bananas and sweet potato.

An antelope also wandered off in the same year.

After the spate of animal escapes, zookeepers were sent for special training overseas. The number of such incidents decreased in the years that followed.

3. Orang utan, 1982

Singapore Zoo's beloved Borneo orang utan, Ah Meng, was also quite the rule-breaker during her lifetime.

She escaped from a film set at MacRitchie Reservoir and decided to climb to the top of a 50m-tall tree.

She stayed up there for three days, before falling off the tree due to dehydration and hunger. She ended up breaking an arm.

In 2005, Medan, the daughter of Ah Meng, was walking back to her enclosure after a routine photography session when she broke away from the zookeeper and bolted up a tree.

She eventually came down on her own, enticed by bananas and oranges offered by her keepers.

4. Elephant, 1991

A runaway elephant, believed to have swum over from Johor, landed on the western part of Pulau Ubin in 1991.

It reportedly attacked visitors and residents alike, causing life on the idyllic island to grind to a halt.

The year before, in 1990, three stray elephants were caught on neighbouring Pulau Tekong.

5. Horse, 1991

In 1991, a horse bolted out of the grounds of the Singapore Polo Club after a thunderstorm, straight into traffic in Thomson Road.

The mare, named Golden Lady, headed straight towards a BMW, crashing into its bonnet and windscreen.

The driver suffered a cut on his head and a sprained neck.

The horse, which was bleeding from the chest, died before a vet arrived at the scene.

6. Malayan tiger, 1996

Giggo, a 14-month-old Malayan tiger, was shot dead after it escaped from its enclosure at the Night Safari in 1996. It was located after a 25-minute hunt.

None of the visitors was hurt and tours were resumed within the hour.

A board of inquiry later found that Giggo had escaped due to a zookeeper's carelessness.

The keeper had left Giggo behind while moving the tigers to their night enclosure for public viewing at the safari.

But he forgot to lock the door to the exercise yard, where the tigers are kept during the day, and the animal escaped through the unlocked door. The keeper was sacked.

7. Chimpanzee, 2004

In 2004, Ramba the chimpanzee from the Singapore Zoo drowned in the Upper Seletar Reservoir after it escaped from its enclosure.

8. Wild African cat, 2005

A tourist from China was bitten by a wild African cat who strayed off the stage at the Night Safari during an animal show in 2005.

Ms Lin, a 32-year-old accountant from Beijing, suffered bleeding and swelling in her right foot.

After the incident, the zoo built a moat to act as a barrier between the wild African cats and the audience, so that they would be sitting 8m away from the stage.

Before that, the audience was only 1m away.

9. Jaguar, 2005

In 2005, a jaguar named Angel escaped briefly through a small hole used by zookeepers to throw meat into the enclosure.

About 500 visitors were evacuated from the zoo, before Angel was sedated and recaptured half an hour later.

10. African wild dog, 2014

In 2014, The New Paper reported that an African wild dog escaped from its enclosure at the Singapore Zoo, causing the temporary closure of the zoo's main entrance.

It was rounded up by zookeepers after half an hour.

11. The one that doesn't count: Black bear... Not

A video circulating online in 2010 showed a dark figure that looked like a "black bear" rummaging through a dustbin in Ulu Pandan Road.

The clip caused alarm among residents, who reported the sighting to the police.

But the "bear" later turned out to be a man in a bear suit, and part of a marketing campaign to launch a Philips Electronics shaver.

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