SEATTLE – At approximately 3:55 p.m. (PST), a 12-year-old, female African lion at Woodland Park Zoo left its sleeping den and gained access to the service hallway that is behind the scenes of the felines building. The incident occurred minutes before the zoo closed to the public. The lion was contained inside the building and at no time were visitors or the staff in any danger.
The zoo’s emergency response team composed of the zoo’s firearms units and veterinary staff equipped with tranquilizer darts was immediately deployed.
The lion was safely tranquilized and secured at 4:53 p.m. inside the service area of the felines building.
In addition to the 12-year-old female lion, the other African lions at the zoo are a 12-year-old male and 2-year-old female. The other two lions were secured in their dens during the incident.
The zoo will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident.
As an institution accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), Woodland Park Zoo conducts several staff emergency drills throughout the year, practicing various scenarios including dangerous and non-dangerous animal escapes, earthquake and natural disasters and visitors in an animal exhibit.