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Two hyenas escape at San Diego Zoo, are recaptured, officials confirm

The San Diego Zoo was placed on lockdown Friday night after two striped hyenas escaped from their enclosure, zoo officials confirmed.


A source who wishes to remain anonymous told NBC 7 the incident happened around 5:30 p.m. The tipster believes the hyenas somehow jumped out of their enclosure.

The zoo’s public relations office confirmed the incident Saturday morning and told NBC 7 that two striped hyenas were able to get past one of the barriers inside their enclosure, temporarily escaping.


Worker at the zoo noticed the hyenas were not where they were supposed to be and, at that point, zookeepers came down to the enclosure.

Zoo officials say a lockdown for the zoo was immediately initiated following the escape as keepers worked to contain the animals. In an event like this, zoo officials say a lockdown is standard protocol.

The lockdown lasted approximately 30 minutes, according to zoo officials. Eventually, the two striped hyenas were darted with a sedative and taken to the veterinary care facility.

Zoo officials say the hyenas were never in contact with any humans and there was never any danger to zoo-goers. No injuries were reported.

The anonymous tipster told NBC 7 the zoo remained on lockdown for closer to an hour and half, rather than 30 minutes. The tipster also said a private party was happening on zoo grounds at the time of the incident.

However, zoo officials said the area where this happened was nowhere near the private party.

Officials did not release any further details about how, exactly, the hyenas were able to get over the barrier. It is unknown if the barrier in question is a wall, moat or fence, as the hyena enclosure includes all different types of barriers.