Escaped chimps back home at Kansas City Zoo

Escaped chimp walks the wall of its enclosure at the Kansas City Zoo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Seven chimpanzees are back inside their enclosure at the Kansas City Zoo after climbing a fallen log to the top of a wall.

Zoo director Randy Wisthoff says visitors were never in danger during the incident Thursday afternoon because the chimps did not reach any public areas. Wisthoff said a ringleader was the first to climb the fallen tree. A half-dozen others followed, and two or three dropped over the wall into a surrounding enclosure.

The last of the chimps was seen strolling the top of the inner wall for several minutes before heading back inside. Keepers used food to entice them back into their building.

Wisthoff told CBS affiliate KCTV, "They're hungry, they've been out all day, they'd had their breakfast but they're hungry. So they always come in at night to get their dinner. So their daily routine was to come in to dinner, so we used that and got some of that food outside. That way the chimps that were hungry would respond to get some dinner and they came in like it was no big deal," he said.

Wisthoff said they didn't all come in at once and, as each came in, staff would lock the door, shift them, then open the door again. He added that they used the chimps' fruits and vegetables, but staff may have had to use some malted milk balls in the end.

"The final enticement, which is not their normal diet," he said. "If any of you've had children or animals that you want to do that one last thing that they don't quite want to do, you use anything at your disposal and I think a bag of malted milk balls was the ultimate, irresistible treat."

Wisthoff said the chimps won't be on exhibit Friday while crews inspect trees around their enclosure. The zoo was closed when the chimps got out but some visitors remained. They were ushered into the theater section of the zoo's African exhibit.

The whole ordeal lasted just over an hour.