Watch: Japanese zoo staff plays 'white tiger' in animal escape drill


A zoo in Japan's Saitama Prefecture is making headlines after conducting an animal escape drill that saw a staff member don a white tiger's costume and run around the park as the fugitive beast.

Why it matters: Tobu Zoological Park, located in the town of Miyashiro, holds escape drills three times a year to improve staff members' knowledge and preparedness in handling escaped animals.

What happened: The latest drill depicted a scenario in which a "white tiger" escapes after an earthquake shatters the reinforced glass in its enclosure. As seen in videos, employees used a net barricade to isolate the big cat, while others escorted visitors away from the area.

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One worker riding a truck slowly approached the pretend animal before "shooting" it with a tranquilizer dart. After ensuring that it had been sedated, the staff members approached it to bind its legs and load it onto a truck.

The big picture: Having staff members play as animals for escape drills is a fairly common practice in Japanese zoos. In January, one zoo in Hiroshima held a drill for an escaped bear.

Tobu Zoo has held escape drills featuring various animals, such as a gorilla, a hippopotamus and a lion.

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