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Zoo intruders are spooked by zebra; 'irresponsible' video bloggers under fire.

Byline: KATE MCMULLIN ECHO Reporter kate.mcmullin@trinitymirror.com @KATEMCMULLIN1

A GANG of YouTube vloggers who filmed themselves breaking into Chester Zoo fled what they thought was a rhino - but it turned out to be a zebra.

In the video, the group are seen scaling a fence and climbing into an animal enclosure.

The trespassers, who believe they have startled a rhino, flee for their lives, but the zoo have confirmed the group were actually in the zebra paddock.

The video, titled the "overnight challenge" was posted on YouTube and shows three men climbing over a fence and into an animal enclosure.

Moments later, the young men, seen carrying torches, were forced to run away after realising they had disturbed a rhino in its enclosure.

It also appears that the group, of around six men, were then spotted by a security guard, who gave chase but was unable to catch them.

Zoo chief operating officer Jamie Christon condemned the actions of the video bloggers, saying they showed no regard for their own safety or that of the animals.

He said: "We're aware of the small group who trespassed onto the zoo site a couple of weeks ago and we are taking legal action.

"There was damage to zoo property, including a set of customer toilets, following the trespass. It appears that the group also startled a Grevy's zebra, an endangered species who we care for as part of a Europe-wide breeding programme, as the animal had an injury to its hind leg following the trespass.

"Thankfully, the animal has since been making a good recovery.

"With over 15,000 animals in our care, including large carnivores and predators, trespass onto the site is both unacceptable and extremely dangerous.

"The members of the group appear to have little or no regard for their own safety, or the safety and welfare of the animals.

"We condemn the irresponsible actions of the group and are taking the matter extremely seriously."

The video is one of many in a series which shows "dangerous stunts" and begins with two young men on the roof of a high-rise building in Manchester city centre. Next, the action switches to a swimming pool and shows a member of the group disrupting a tournament by jumping from the top of a 10m diving board as people swim below, endangering them and causing injury to himself.

The video then shows an evening car journey to Chester Zoo, where the gang meet up after dark before scaling a high gate.

Signs for the animal enclosures can be seen by torchlight such as the "monkey entrance", "black rhinos" and "meerkats".

At one point, a couple of the vloggers climb over a fence into an enclosure and gingerly approach an animal in the darkness.

But they then make a hasty retreat when they believe it is a rhino.

The video also picks up signs for the chimpanzee house and the animals can be heard in the background.

When safely back home, the main video blogger concludes unapologetically: "The whole vlog was a madness, broken knees and breaking into the zoo, what more could you want?"

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The vloggers thought they were in the rhino enclosure - but they had actually disturbed the zebras

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2017
Words:540
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