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Published October 19, 2011, 07:01 PM

Wahpeton's Chahinkapa Zoo provides a glimpse at safety precautions

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - Lions, tigers and bears on the loose. It's a reality right now in Ohio. The owner of an exotic farm freed them before taking his own life. 50 animals got loose; all but a monkey and wolf have been killed. What are the chances something like that could happen in our area?

Lions, tigers and bears on the loose. It's a reality right now in Ohio. The owner of an exotic farm freed them before taking his own life. 50 animals got loose; all but a monkey and wolf have been killed. What are the chances something like that could happen in our area?

They have breathtaking beauty and awe inspiring power. But never forget, these exotic animals are dangerous creatures. At Chahinkapa Zoo, each dangerous animal exhibit can only be accessed through three consecutive locked doors.

Tom Schmaltz – Chahinkapa Zoo Director: “And then if they have to go inside one of his bedrooms, there's double locks on both of these.”

Steel fencing and hot wires keep these grizzlies grounded at all times.

Tom Schmaltz: “The last thing we want to happen is an animal to get out and for the health of the animal and the public.”

Many of the dangerous animal exhibits also have fences off roofs because of their extreme leaping ability. For example, these cougars behind me can jump up to 18 feet straight into the air. In Ohio, 48 exotic animals escaped from a private owner who was later found dead. Zoo curator Tom Schmaltz says Chahinkapa also has a shoot to kill order on any escaped animals, but it would be nearly impossible for that situation to duplicate itself in North Dakota.

Tom Schmaltz: “You have to go through everything that we have to do and most people aren't set up with it. They don't have the double perimeter fence; they don't have some place in their budget to show that they can maintain these animals and feed them.”

So those in the Red River Valley can rest assured, a Bengal tiger like this one won't be showing up in their backyard anytime soon. The Chahinkapa Zoo also conducts up to 4 random escaped animal drills a year to keep staff on their toes.

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