Bird recaptured after escaping from zoo enclosure

8:59 PM, Jul 15, 2011   |    comments
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According to zoo officials, the cassowary, named Murray, got out of its enclosure, but was never out of the zookeepers' sights. The cassowary is back in its habitat.

Zookeepers say a guest spotted the bird ramming itself against the gate of its enclosure. At some point, it hit the gate so hard that it slipped through a gap. That guest then notified zoo employees, who cornered the bird.

The gates of the zoo were locked and people were escorted away from the area of the exhibit during the bird's escape.

Darrin McKinnon was one of the guests who were moved.

"The next thing I know they were like, 'You guys got to get back inside because we have a wild animal that got loose and it's a preying bird and we don't want you to get bit ,'" he said.

No injuries were reported. Due to the bird's size, the zoo workers took great precaution, though the bird was not considered dangerous.

The zoo spokesperson says they created a "safe barrier distance from the bird and the zoo visitors." The zoo was not evacuated.

Zoo officials say Murray, along with a second cassowary, is being kept inside an indoor enclosure for the time being. Officials say they plan on adjusting the fence of the outdoor enclosure to make it more secure.

Just moments after 9NEWS learned of the bird's escape, some quirky Twitterers took to the social-media network and created an account in honor of the bird, http://twitter.com/cassowaryvacati. The Twitter version of the escaped cassowary claims the bird just wanted to take a little "vacay."

Adult cassowaries are 5 to 6 feet tall and males can weigh anywhere between 64 and 100 pounds while females can weigh up to 128 pounds. They have a helmet-like crest on the top of their heads, strong legs with three toes and sharp claws. Their wings are extremely small making them flightless. They can run up to 31 mph.

Cassowaries are considered shy birds, but can emit a low, booming sound that is territorial or can be considered a mating call.

Cassowaries are the second heaviest bird in the world. The heaviest is the ostrich.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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