You may have already heard of Ueno Zoo, the oldest existing zoo in Tokyo, but have you ever witnessed its “Escaped Animal Drill?” It is a very exciting event which may appear odd for some, as you will see zookeepers dressed up in animal costumes pretending to be fugitive animals breaking loose as co-workers try to handle the situation.
The Escaped Animal Drill was created to train the staff on how to properly address emergency situations in the event that an animal was to escape. The drill has been designed to appear as realistic as possible and some of the commonly used animals in the drill are gorillas, a rhinoceros, leopards and zebras. These ‘animals’ will try their best to reenact an escape by knocking staff unconscious as well as inflicting other mock injuries upon them. Part of the drill is practising how to resuscitate staff back to life as well. It appears to be quite a bit of work involved to chase down and capture all the animals!
In capturing the ‘animals’, fake tranquilizer darts are shot at them, followed by other employees approaching the ‘animals’ to check the tranquilizer’s effectiveness. The Zoo Escaped Animal Drill has become such an attraction that many other zoos have decided to copy the idea too.
Due to the event’s absurd and fun nature, many children love to go along and watch. However, the importance of the event also extends out to spectators too, as they will be given advice on where to run in case an event like this ever occurs in future. Some scenarios may include animals escaping due to an earthquake – which is a common phenomenon in Japan – so it also serves as a reminder for all to stay alert and be prepared.
Usually held between 20th – 22nd February (contact the zoo directly to confirm)
Adults 600 yen, children under 12 free. No additional charge for the Escaped Animals Drill
Zoo opening hours are Tues-Sun 9.30am-5.00pm