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Lion on the loose? Curious animals look on at Japanese zoo's escape drill

A costumed lion takes part in an escape drill at Tobe Zoological Park in Ehime Prefecture on June 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Ryoko Kijima)

TOBE, Ehime -- A drill simulating the escape of a lion following a strong earthquake was held at Tobe Zoological Park in western Japan on June 22.

A worker dressed in a lion's costume to imitate the escaped lion and walked on two legs as real lions curiously looked on.

A costumed lion lies on the ground after it was "shot" with a fake tranquilizer gun at Tobe Zoological Park in Ehime Prefecture on June 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Ryoko Kijima)

The drill was carried out during the zoo's open hours for the first time. After an announcement that a lion had escaped, staff members led visitors to safe areas and shut off corridors near the lions' enclosure with a net. The costumed lion appeared from behind a building and dashed toward a staff member who was holding the net.

The costumed creature was "shot" with a fake tranquilizer gun and laid on the ground in front of the real lions' enclosure before facility staff captured it.

(Japanese original by Ryoko Kijima, Matsuyama Bureau)

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