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Chimpanzees create makeshift ladder to escape zoo enclosure

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Feb. 10 (UPI) — A group of chimpanzees used tree branches to break out of their enclosure at a zoo in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

The chimps appeared to use storm-damaged branches to create a makeshift ladder and scale the walls of their enclosure, The Guardian reported.

Zoo visitors captured video of the caper, as at least one chimp emerged from bushes near the enclosure into a path and others sat near the top of the enclosure.

“Don’t escape you bad little gorilla,” a child could be heard saying in one video.

Other chimps remained in trees on the wall of the enclosure while some zoo guests were shocked at the sight.

“I was petrified, obviously, having the kids and I tried not to show fear but inside I was a bit like what happens if it attacks us or tries to take the kids or runs over,” zoo guest Danielle Monaghan told the BBC. “But we just had to stay calm.”

Monaghan captured film of the encounter and said she would “never forget” how the “smart” chimpanzees escaped the enclosure.

Chantal Baxter, another zoo visitor, said her youngest child shouted at one of the chimps when it appeared before them.

“I think she scared it and it did sort of make its way back up the hill,” said Baxter.

She added that it was “easy to think it was funny” after the encounter, but that the experience was still “quite dangerous.”

Zoo employee Alyn Cairns said the chimps were “quite cowardly” and returned to their enclosure on their own.

“They’re intelligent primates and know they’re not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves,” he said.

Cairns said it appeared the trees in the enclosure had been weakened by the storm, allowing the chimps to use them to climb out.

The escape was the second at the zoo this year after a red panda went missing overnight before being discovered in a nearby garden. Cairns said the zoo would reconsider the layout of the chimpanzee enclosure.

“We like things to be natural in their enclosure, to have trees in it, but we will review it,” he said. “We may have to remove the trees or make them a smaller level, although we don’t want to do that.”



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‘Rarest Penguin On Earth’ Caught On Camera In Antarctica

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New footage from BBC America shows what just might be a one-of-a-kind emperor penguin

Unlike its famous black and white counterparts, this one is covered almost entirely in black feathers ― the result of a rare genetic mutation called melanism. 

“This could be the first-ever footage of an all black emperor penguin,” the clip from BBC Earth’s wildlife show “Dynasties” notes. 

While the mutation may appear from time to time, the dark color makes it easier to spot by predators, making it very unusual for a penguin like this one to survive to adulthood. 

“He or she could be the only one of its kind,” the clip states: 

National Geographic has documented melanism on other types of penguins, especially the king penguins, which appear to have the mutation more often than others.

However, the magazine’s website says it has also found evidence of partial melanism in Adélie, chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and royal penguins.



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Virginia man surprises wife with $1M winning lotto ticket for Valentine’s Day

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Feb. 18 (UPI) — A Virginia man surprised his wife with a $1 million winning lottery ticket for an early Valentine’s day gift.

Terry Mudd purchased the ticket after forgetting to pick something up from his grocery shopping list, which he said is a regular occurrence, and scratched it off to find he’d won the game’s $1 million top prize.

Mudd decided to surprise his wife, Madonna, with the gift as a Valentine’s present, but gave it to her earlier in an envelope that read “Terry + Madonna’s retirement” after they got into an argument about their finances.

The couple elected to take a one-time cash option of $657,030 before taxes instead of receiving the full million dollars over 30 years.

They recently purchased an RV and plan to travel across the country when they retire, although neither plans to retire in the near future.



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Look: Tractor seized after being used for drag racing in Britain

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Feb. 18 (UPI) — Police breaking up a late-night drag racing session in Britain ended up seizing an unusual vehicle — a speedy tractor.

Amesbury Police said they responded to a report of drag racing motorcycles in Wiltshire and ended up discovering the bikes were racing against a New Holland T6 175 tractor.

Police said the tractor was found to be running on red diesel, a duty-free fuel allowed to be used strictly for agricultural purposes.

“Rather unusual stop for team 1 tonight,” police tweeted. “Tractor stopped after being reported for drag racing motorbikes!”

“Vehicle was seized as the driver couldn’t prove he was insured and was driving on red diesel,” the tweet said.



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