Goats and Camels Break Loose at Ohio Theme Park in Ongoing Series of Animal Escapes

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4 min read

It seems that Jumanji has jumped from the screen into real life, as the past few months have seen a series of captive animal escapes across the U.S. Most recently, multiple goats escaped through a hole in a fence at Cedar Point—an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, that exploits animals supplied by a mobile petting zoo known as Honey Hill Farm—and roamed loose around the park.

The incident happened just days after two camels named Sampson and Artie apparently attempted to run from Cedar Point. After reportedly breaking out of their enclosure—a small space situated under a loud roller coaster, which likely distresses these highly sensitive animals—the camels wandered near visitors.


Two camels were spotted trotting around Cedar Point, an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 11, after breaking out of the park’s petting zoo. #camel #camels #camelsontheloose #escapedanimals #cedarpoint #fyp #foryoupage

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One visitor who witnessed the incident reportedly said, “They were coming straight at you, and the next thing we were worried about was just getting out of the way.” This situation should come as no surprise—camels are naturally shy and typically bolt away from perceived threats. A theme park with noisy rides and crowds of visitors is no place for goats, camels, or any other vulnerable animals.

camel in enclosure with roller coaster in the background

The incidents, which PETA has called on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to investigate, put the animals and the public at serious risk of injury. It also follows a series of similar episodes, which have us asking this question: When will everyone realize that animals don’t want to be exploited for human amusement?

Zebras Escape From Trailer en Route to Unofficial ‘Petting Zoo’

In late April, four zebras made national headlines when they bolted out of an insecure trailer near a highway exit in North Bend, Washington. After making a break for it, the animals ran through the streets and into neighborhoods, where residents attempted to corral them safely.

zebras escape
One woman captured footage of one of the zebras—the baby of the group—roaming in her backyard.

Within hours of the incident, three of the zebras were recaptured—but the last one, Sugar, remained on the loose for six days before she was found.

sugar the zebra who escaped a trailer in washington state
As prey animals, zebras are highly susceptible to stress. Sugar’s nearly weeklong escapade was likely terrifying and confusing, as she was separated from her dazzle (or group of zebras) and roaming an unfamiliar area.

After some digging, PETA discovered that the individual responsible for the zebras’ escape—a likely traumatic experience for these naturally skittish, sensitive animals—was actually hauling them to her apparently unlicensed “petting zoo” in Montana.

Elderly Elephant Escapes for the Third Time

On April 16, an elderly elephant named Viola escaped from Jordan World Circus while in Butte, Montana, and ran panicked through the city’s streets. The elephant’s apparent attempt to flee from her weapon-wielding handler endangered many lives. After PETA tipped off the USDA to the incident, the feds cited the exhibitor, Carson & Barnes Circus—which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act—for not properly securing her and protecting her from potential injury. This was also Viola’s third escape, making it even more apparent that the long-abused elephant is desperate for freedom. Although the exhibitor was held accountable, PETA continues to call for the circus to go animal-free and send all the exploited animals currently in its clutches to reputable sanctuaries.

‘Pet’ Monkey Reportedly Shot After Escaping

In May, a 15-year-old Japanese macaque named Bradley, who was being kept as a “pet,” reportedly got loose in Walterboro, South Carolina, and wandered through a residential area for several days. He met a fate all too common when humans decide to keep exotic animals as “pets” in their homes. In nature, macaques like Bradley explore and forage through the temperate and snowy mountain ranges of Asia, live in large family groups, and take soothing baths in natural hot springs. Most monkeys kept in human homes are sold as infants by unscrupulous animal breeders and dealers, who tear babies away from their mothers prematurely. According to reports, a local resident shot and killed Bradley.

escaped macaque monkey on top of a roof

What You Can Do

The only way to protect animals and the public from these dangerous—and potentially fatal—incidents is to not exploit the animals in the first place. At circuses, roadside zoos, and other seedy facilities, animals often pace endlessly in too-small enclosures due to psychological anguish—all so that humans can gawk at them. Never patronize any facility or display like these that exploits animals for entertainment. Take action for animals trapped in roadside zoos below:

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