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Two capybaras still on the loose after escaping High Park Zoo

CityNews | posted Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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The search is still on for two female capybaras after they escaped from their pen at the High Park Zoo on Tuesday.

Zoo officials say the pair bolted when a new capybara was moving in around 6 a.m. that morning.

Nearly 24 hours later, they were still missing.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation said the two are not considered dangerous.

“[They] are skittish and people are advised to stay away from the animals,” an animal service spokesperson said to CityNews.

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents. Fully grown, they can reach over four feet in height and can weigh as much as 140 lbs – they also look like large guinea pigs. They enjoy swimming and don’t like children.

“The last sighting saw them heading towards the creek, which is just to the east of the zoo, out of the llama pen area,” said Sarah Doucette, city councillor for High Park.

And it seems the rodents have taken to Twitter to share their adventure.

Police notified the public around 9 a.m. about the two rodents and ask if anyone has seen them to contact police or call 311.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff, along with the High Park zookeepers are working to catch and secure the animals.

There is a little river right near the zoo and Doucette suspects they’ve headed towards the water. They often lounge or sunbathe near the water to dry off, and because of their brown colour they are hard to see.

“We believe they are in between the zoo and the Jamie Bell Adventure playground,” she said. “Because they are shy animals they would rather stay under the hedges and the bush. I can’t see them wanting to go across a pathway or even a roadway,” Doucette said.

This isn’t the first time an animal has run free from the High Park Zoo.

Almost exactly a year ago, the High Park Peacock escaped from the zoo and was on the loose in Toronto for days before returning home on its own.

In 2009, six animals – four llamas, one yak and one wallaby – escaped from the zoo after someone opened their enclosures.

Police and zoo workers were able to round up all the animals in a few hours.

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