The Honolulu Zoo went on “code red” alert when a tiger got out of his exhibit area Thursday morning, but in the end getting the animal back into a secure area required no extraordinary measures — just a meatball.
The entire episode lasted 20 to 25 minutes — all before the zoo had opened for the day — and no one was hurt, a city official said yesterday.
However, the 245-pound male tiger named Berani walked right past a defenseless volunteer and for a few minutes was in an area where nothing but a 4-foot fence separated him from the wider public areas of the zoo, including a playground yards away.
Zoo officials are investigating and planning additional security to prevent such an incident from happening again, said city Department of Enterprise Services director Sidney A. Quintal.
Quintal yesterday apologized “to the people of Honolulu for this oversight that is right now centered around human error.”
He said a zookeeper neglected to secure two gates to the tiger exhibit after he and a female volunteer cleaned the exhibit. Berani was released back into the exhibit, and he pushed through both gates to an open area, which is separated from the public areas by a fence slightly higher than 4 feet.