High Park llamas go on the lam

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE WALLABY, FOUR LLAMAS AND A YAK? It was no joke when someone cut the fence at the High Park Zoo allowing the animals to escape their pens.

But freedom short-lived for woolly fugitives

The Great Escape it wasn’t, but for four llamas, a wallaby and a yak it was a walk in the park.

At about 1 a.m. on Aug. 26, a hole was cut in the High Park Zoo fence, leaving the outside world open to the animal paddocks in the Parkside Dr. and Bloor St. West area, said Kevin Bowser, city parks manager.

Patrolling police officers discovered the quartet of curious ungulates along with their marsupial sidekick grazing on trees, while the yak stuck close to the pens.

“We’re lucky (the yak) stayed in that area,” Bowser said. “The llamas actually wandered off just outside the zoo area along with the wallaby.”

The police contacted Toronto Parks and an on-call supervisor responded, Bowser said.

“Eventually we got park staff and the zookeepers into the park,” he said. “We were able to coax the animals back into their pens.”

Though the High Park Zoo has had some incidents in the past, Bowser admitted he could not recall the last time such an event occurred.

“It’s not a regular thing by any means,” he said. “We don’t really have issues around the zoo.”

Police from 11 Division are investigating the act of mischief, reviewing tapes from security cameras in the area.

As for the suspects, no descriptions have been made available. But Bowser said he doesn’t believe it’s an act of animal liberation from an outside source.

“I think it’s mischief to be honest,” he said. “There was a little bit of vandalism (but) there was nothing left behind.

“It just looked to me that someone went in, had bolt-cutters with them, and did a little damage to see what type of activity they could create.”

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