Visitors to Tayto Park were forced to shelter in a gift shop after three bison escaped their enclosure and were spotted next to one of the theme park’s rides in an incident in March.
The retail manager had raised the alarm after a customer reported seeing bison next to a ride at the park in Meath, and the animal care team immediately launched a case against escaped animals.
“All visitors were removed from this area and taken to the retail store closest to the animals,” an employee wrote in an email to the government agency responsible for zoo licenses.
Customers were confined to the gift shop until the bison herd manager arrived and, with the help of zoo keepers, returned the animals to their paddock. The section of fence that the bison breached was later repaired.
“The incident was resolved quickly and efficiently by staff following the emergency drills we conducted,” the staffer reported in the email to an official at the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Bison are the largest land mammals in their native North America, growing up to two meters tall and weighing up to a ton. They are known to be aggressive and territorial and can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
Three people have been attacked by bison in Yellowstone National Park since May, prompting park rangers to advise visitors to stay at least 75 feet from the animals at all times.
The Tayto Park incident, which took place on March 27, is not the first time an animal has escaped from its enclosure at the zoo.
A white stork took advantage of the hot weather in June 2021 to use thermals – rising columns of warm air – to flee by flying high over the zoo. Seven hours later, the huge bird with a wingspan of around two meters was recaptured.
A Tayto Park spokesman confirmed that a female bison and two cubs escaped from her pen in March, but said the animals only entered an area fenced off from the public and no evacuation was necessary.
Within two minutes of the notification, “several members of the animal care team were implementing our Animal Escape Plan and herding the bison back to its pen.”
According to the spokesperson, guests were allowed to leave the confines of the retail store within 10 minutes of the initial notification of the event.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/republic-of-ireland/visitors-to-tayto-park-forced-to-shelter-in-gift-shop-after-three-bison-broke-out-of-their-enclosure-41889722.html Visitors to Tayto Park forced to shelter in gift shop after three bison broke out of their enclosure