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'Code Red' called at Kansas City Zoo after rhino partially escapes

Posted at 12:31 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 19:28:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Zoo officials have given the all-clear after a rhino partially escaped its enclosure Monday morning.

A zoo spokesperson told 41 Action News zookeepers called a “code red” around 10:20 a.m. They were working in a behind-the-scenes part of the rhino building when one of the animals gained access to a zookeeper area.

Imara, a female rhino, was able to walk out of her stall and into the hallway because a padlock was not secured.

The zoo, out of an abundance of caution it said, asked guests, employees and contractors in the Africa part of the zoo to seek shelter. 

A "code red" is initiated whenever a dangerous animal is in an area where it's not supposed to be, or if a guest is in a restricted area.

"If they're out of their home, they're in an unknown area, and so we just don't know what they might possibly do if they get spooked," Kansas City Zoo Executive Director Randy Wisthoff explained. 

Zoo officials said no one was in immediate danger, and the rhino never escaped to an area near guests.

In light of the incident, staff will review procedures like double and triple checking locks.

Imara was contained within 15 minutes, but she isn't out of the doghouse quite yet. 

"I'm going to have a stern talk with her," Wisthoff said.