June 22, 1959
A usually mild-mannered, chimpanzee named Oswald had Washington Park Zoo in an uproar today. The 150-pound animal created an hour of havoc, when he broke out of his cage and then swung around the mammal house, releasing birds and animals and tipping over bottles and other
containers. He was finally' captured after a chase over the zoo grounds.
Among the casualties was a bobcat, which received a mangled leg when Oswald let him into a cage
Bob Shipp, City director of recreation, gave this account ot Oswald's escapade:
The chimp, describe by Mr. Shipp as "not bad tempered," got out of his cage in the mamal house by breaking the lock sometime before the zoo opened at 8 a.m.
"He probably wanted to visit Amy, his girl friend in the cage next door," Mr. Shipp said. "You know - "Once in love wiith Amy."
Then Oswald proceeded to tear around the mammal house, opeing gates between cages. A bobcat got into a cage with two foxes and the foxes bit the bobcat's leg severely, Mr. Shipp said.
Out of a about 100 animals and numerous birds, one eagle escaped from its cage and flew around the mammal house, Mr. Shipp said.
Oswald also knocked over a number of feed containers and bottles in his rampage.
When Enrique DiHaro, assistant zoo keeper, opened the door of the mammal house shortly after 9 a.m., Oswald ran out, Mr. Shipp said.
Oswald then began ambling across the zoo grounds with Mr. DiHaro and four other zoo employes in pursuit. There were about 20 visitors in the zoo at the time and they were herded to one side and the gates closed to keep more people out.
"Oswald wandered around for a few minutes and then he climbed into the front seat of a parked
car owned by Mrs. Fran Past, secretary of the City Parks and Recreation Department," Mr. Shipp said.
"Then he got into another car and began to eat a burrito he found in a lunch on the seat. Wayne Walker, owner of the El Paso Reptile Gardens, got in the car with him and talked to him
while DiHaro crawled behind the wheel. The men pushed the car to the mammal house, we opened the car door and the door to the house, and Oswald went in."
Oswald was finally enticed back into his cage witlh a banana. Meanwhile, z00 workers had separated the foxes and bobcat by turning a fire hose on them.
By 9:30 a. m. the mammal house was settled back to normal again, the rubble cleaned up, and Oswald was contentedly munching a banana.