There's no holding back zoo predators

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 July, 2004, 12:00am

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

There are fears that wild animals could break out of a safari park in eastern China after a power cut shut off an electrified fence, the latest casualty of the mainland's severe summer electricity shortages.

Like many companies, authorities had ordered the Hangzhou Wild Animal Park to shut off electricity for two days to conserve power, the Oriental Morning Post reported.

Zookeepers said the animals had become increasingly daring since they realised the fence no longer carried a jolt.

'The situation is extremely tense. If it continues like this, if the wild animals collectively attack, then we won't be able to fight them off,' an official said.

More than 100 'beasts of prey' - including lions, tigers, bears, wolves and leopards - live in the park, located about 500 metres from a residential area. A photograph in the newspaper showed a bear fearlessly poking his nose through a gap in the fence.

The park has deployed 24-hour patrols armed with tranquilliser guns to stop animals who tried to answer the call of the wild and make a break for it.

The park has made an urgent request to local police for help.

Zhejiang province , home to Hangzhou, is among the regions worst affected by summer power shortages.

Meanwhile, keepers at Shanghai's wild animal park have found a novel ways to help the bears beat the heat by giving them ice-cold bottles of cola.