Visitors at Paignton Zoo were herded to safety on Tuesday (August 22) after a monkey escaped its enclosure.

According to a statement by the zoo, visitors were evacuated as a precautionary measure before the ape was safely re-captured shortly after the alert was raised.

During the incident, visitors were kept enclosed in areas such as the restaurant and the rhino house. Reports said everyone was kept away from the bottom end of the zoo.

Leah Sibbick, a visitor to the zoo, later posted a message on Facebook thanking a staff member who “entertained us all whilst being stuck in the rhino house, you made the lock down enjoyable”.

It is not yet clear how the monkey escaped, or the species involved.

The zoo added: “We are currently investigating how this incident occurred and would like to thank everyone who was at the zoo this morning for their patience and co-operation.”

It is not the first time apes have escaped at Paignton Zoo. Last year, two gibbons escaped into trees next to their island home before being safely recaptured.

And in July 2017, another primate – a male Diana monkey – scaled out of his enclosure for a short while just days after three young gorillas went on the rampage in a secure corridor, reportedly ripping up wiring and pulling up water pipes. Vets were eventually called in to tranquillise the animals and return them to their enclosure.