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Salzburg cheetahs great escape

For the third time in two years a cheetah has broken out from Salzburg Zoo this week.

"Ginger" the female cheetah left two cubs behind as she scaled a 2-and-a-half metre wall at 11.00 on Wednesday morning, only to return after ten minutes back to the enclosure.

But that was not before she was spotted having a curious wander around by visitors enjoying a day at the zoo, who quickly raised the alarm.

"We are please she returned - we were at our wits end," said Managing Director Sabine Grebner. The cheetahs were secured into the inner section of their enclosure immediately after the breakout and have been kept there since while the zoo look at how to make the enclosure safer.

After earlier outbreaks in June and July 2012, the cheetah enclosure was rebuilt - at the cost of 220,000 EUR and was described as "state of the art" and "absolutely safe" by the zoo.

But it was not too tricky for Ginger who, going by the mud on her belly when she was spotted after her escape, had managed to pass through the pond in the enclosure and then jumped over the 2-and-a-half metre wall and climb under the electric fence, the zoo workers have assumed.

Grebner said that Lars Versteegde, the coordinator of the European Endangered Species Programme for cheetahs and an expert on cheetahs, is due to fly to Salzburg from where he works in the Netherlands in the near future  fly in the near future to check the system's safety standards again.

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