USDA inspection reports show past problems with primate enclosures at the Kansas City Zoo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Inspection reports from the United States Department of Agriculture show the Kansas City Zoo has received citations for problems with its primate enclosures.

The 41 Action News investigators reviewed the reports on file with the government agency. The last inspection report available was dated December 2012.

At that time, inspectors cited the zoo for problems in the squirrel monkey enclosure. A 12-inch strip of caulking material had been removed between the viewing window and the wall, exposing the material underneath. In addition, a tree branch meant to entertain the monkeys wasn’t secured. Inspectors say monkeys could have pulled the branch down and injured themselves. The zoo immediately corrected the issue.

The 41 Action News investigators also found the zoo was cited in February 2012 for repeated non-compliance in the primate habitat.

During that month, two gorillas escaped their habitat after zookeepers doing maintenance work moved the 400-pound apes to a holding area and failed to lock the door.

Zookeepers eventually were able to spray the apes with water and push them back into their cage.

The incident came on the heels of another primate escape. In May 2011, a red capped mangabey escaped out of its cage after an employee did not secure the padlock to the monkey’s holding pen.

In that incident, zoo staff moved visitors to a safe area for a short time while crews tranquilized the monkey.

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