London Zoo: Exotic bird safely returned after escaping enclosure and found wandering streets

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A loose wire in its aviary roof created just enough slack for the bird to get through.

An exotic bird has been safely returned to a zoo after it escaped its enclosure and was found wandering the streets of London.

Stu Mather spotted the Northern bald ibis strolling down the road in Camden, London, at lunchtime on Monday (October 3).

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A bird has been safely returned to ZSL London Zoo after it escaped. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNSA bird has been safely returned to ZSL London Zoo after it escaped. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS
A bird has been safely returned to ZSL London Zoo after it escaped. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS | Stu Mather / SWNS

ZSL London Zoo was made aware of the escapee and keepers were dispatched to catch and return the bird to its enclosure - after it was on the loose since Sunday evening.

Staff managed to round it up into a crate and the bird was safely returned to its aviary at 1.20pm yesterday.

A Northern bald ibis on Jamestown Road, London. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNSA Northern bald ibis on Jamestown Road, London. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS
A Northern bald ibis on Jamestown Road, London. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS | Stu Mather / SWNS

Northern bald ibis are large black birds with a bright red face and pose absolutely no danger.

Rather like a chicken, they primarily eat insects and a small amount of grain.

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Reports of the Northern bald ibis first emerged on social media at lunchtime on Monday. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNSReports of the Northern bald ibis first emerged on social media at lunchtime on Monday. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS
Reports of the Northern bald ibis first emerged on social media at lunchtime on Monday. Photo: Stu Mather / SWNS | Stu Mather / SWNS

One concerned passer-by tweeted: “One of your birds is on Jamestown road, we called you 45 mins ago, we’re trying to keep him off the road - can someone come down please?”

The Northern bald ibis was historically located in the European Alps, Northern Africa, and the Middle East until the start of the 1900s, and 99% of the wild population could be found in Morocco.

In a statement, the zoo said: “A Northern bald ibis flew away from ZSL London Zoo today, after a loose wire in its aviary roof created just enough slack for the bird to get through.

“Zookeepers responded to multiple sightings on social media, remaining in contact with members of the public and travelling to the locations indicated as quickly as possible.

“The bird was collected from nearby Camden town at 1.20pm and transported safely back to the Zoo.”

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