European bison escape from zoo in South Bohemia

Seven European bison escaped from Tábor Zoo yesterday; five of the animals have been returned, but two are still on the loose.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 11.07.2021 11:01:00 (updated on 11.07.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Police in Tábor, South Bohemia have warned locals to be on the lookout for European bison that escaped from the city's zoo on Saturday. The bison pose no threat to humans, but may attack dogs, according to officials.

Seven bison escaped from the zoo on Saturday morning after a fallen tree broke a hole in their enclosure. Five of the bison have been located and returned to the zoo, but two are still on the loose.

"On Saturday morning, we received information from the local zoo in Větrovy about an event in which seven European bison escaped from the enclosure due to a tree falling on a plot of land," said Tábor Municipal Police spokesperson Pavel Šimek.

According to zoo officials, the location of the remaining two animals is known, and efforts to get them back in the zoo are currently underway.

"One bison is only a few dozens of meters from the paddock, we will try to get him into the corral," said Tábor Zoo director Evžen Korec.

"The second is about 200 meters away on the edge of the forest and goes to graze on the meadow. We will build a mobile fence around it."

While the locations of the bison are known, it may still take a few days to safely corral them back into the zoo, which is why police have warned locals in the area to be aware of them.

According to Korec, European bison pose no threat to humans, but can attack smaller animals, including dogs, if they approach.

"People do not have to be afraid. The [bison] will slowly move away from a human. A problem could arise if a free-running dog approaches, which could be harmed by a bison," Korec says.

City police have urged residents in the area to keep their dogs on leashes, or avoid walking them in the vicinity of the zoo.

On social media, Tábor Zoo blamed the escape on the owners of nearby land where the tree stood, who were allegedly warned about the threat the tree had posed.

"Due to the absolute irresponsibility of our zoo's neighbors, what we repeatedly pointed out to them occurred yesterday," the zoo wrote on Facebook.

"One of the trees which should have been cut down a long time ago fell on the fence of our European bison. Fortunately, nothing happened to any of our bison, but unfortunately all seven bison managed to escape. We caught five of them immediately, the other two are located, and now we're working to get them back to the enclosure."

"Please do not go to the forests adjacent to our zoo for now."

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