Sydney Zoo has responded to reports an animal escaped from one of its enclosures Friday morning, revealing staff were actually in mourning following a devastating loss.
The popular attraction in Bungarribee, near Blacktown in western Sydney, was subject to the rumour following calls to Ray Hadley's 2GB radio program from concerned listeners.
Despite reports of visitors being told to stay inside due to an animal on the loose - the zoo took to Facebook to dismiss the speculation.
"Sydney Zoo is sad to announce the death of Mogli a beloved member of our chimpanzee troop. Mogli was found in the chimpanzee habitat this morning by our team," the zoo's post read.
Staff were investigating the circumstances surrounding Mogli's death and were "in a state of deep shock and grief", according to the post.
Reports of an animal escaping were not true, Sydney Zoo said.
"We would like to confirm that media reports of an escaped animal are false," the post read.
PETA responds after chimpanzee's zoo death
PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice said Mogli's death was another reminder animals did not belong in captivity.
"Even under the best circumstances at the best zoo, wild animals suffer tremendously, both physically and mentally, from the frustration of life in captivity," she said.
"We urge Australians passionate about wild animals to stay away.
"At the end of the day, the paying public can go home, but the animals remain in captivity as living exhibits used to attract crowds until the day they die – often thousands of kilometres from where they truly belong."
The zoo was likely packed with visitors due to the school holidays, with adults being able to spend the state government's Dine and Discover vouchers there.
Footage from the scene showed staff pulling Mogli's body from the water inside his enclosure.
A team were shown transporting his body from the enclosure in a large tarp.
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