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30 Squirrels Escape from Zoo, 38 Recaptured

A typhoon wrecked the squirrel enclosure of the Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo last week, resulting in the escape of 30 squirrels. Attempts to recover the animals have been quite successful; at one count, 38 squirrels have been "recaptured."
So why the mysterious additional squirrels? Zoo officials have come up with a number of explanations. According to Japan Today, zoo official and animal biology specialist Hioshi Mashima said on Friday, “More than 40 squirrels must have gotten away in the first place. There are no wild squirrels inhabiting this area. That is for sure.” Mashima said the zoo could not be precise on the exact number of squirrels it currently has in it possession “because they are difficult to catch, and they keep reproducing.”

But another zoo official, Eri Tsushima, told the Japan Times on Friday that animal handlers may have actually swept up wild squirrels from outside the zoo’s walls, noting that the zoo implants a microchip in each one of its squirrels and that each animal taken into captivity would be checked for the microchip.

Meanwhile, the zoo continues to get calls about runaway squirrels at large in Tokyo.

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(Image credit: Flickr user su neko)

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