Papier mache rhino attacks zoo staff in Tokyo disaster drill

Jordan Chittley

After a challenging year, people in Japan are preparing for any kind of emergency - even an escaped rhinoceros at the zoo.

In a rather comical scene that resembles something out of Godzilla, an extremely slow moving papier mache rhino labours around the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Similar to the special effects of Godzilla, the animal looks nothing like a real one and you can even see the two people's feet sticking out the bottom.

The zoo put two people in the fake animal to conduct an emergency drill to teach zookeepers, paramedics and police how to react if an earthquake struck and a rhinoceros escaped.

Once the two chosen zoo keepers were suited up, the staff got busy putting up nets to try and contain the rhino.

"A lesson was learned after the disaster at the nuclear plant in Fukushima," says the zoo's director in the Associated Press video. "You should never be too confident about security measures, so it is important to put in practice in daily operations to be prepared for something that is unexpected."

In one scene a zoo member even fell down. He didn't appear to be hit by the rhino, but seemed to have trouble working with his colleagues to put up a net.

Staff and police tried to move visitors away from the animal's path, but many were trying to stay close and watch the drama unfold.

Zoo director Toshimitsu Doi said in a Sky News article they have used less elaborate costumes before, but went with the papier mache one this time for its impact. "As the costume is seen as somewhat cute, it becomes somewhat event-like, and while that's not bad at all, we hoped to have something a bit closer to the real thing with ours."

The whole drill ended with the rhino being shot with a tranquilizer dart that appeared to be made in arts and crafts class. With the animal sedated, staff were able to move in and drape nets over papier beast.

According to the Telegraph, the drills are held every year at various zoos around Tokyo to prepare staff for animal break-outs. Four animals have escaped from their enclosures in the past 50 years at the Ueno Zoo, reports Sky News.