Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, located in England’s north between Manchester and Liverpool, has long been known locally as a great family day out.
However, recent events reported by The Times have shown that perhaps the park isn’t as family friendly as most would assume, with curious reports have emerged of baboons armed with 'knives and chainsaws’ roaming the park and attacking visitors’ cars.
The parks main draw is the 8km, self-drive safari experience, where visitors drive their own cars throughout the park which features a range of exotic animals,including lions, camels, rhinos and baboons. The animals are free to approach the cars as they drive through the park on a marked road, and the up-close encounters with wild animals usually only seen in zoos or on TV have delighted families for years.
The baboons at the park are locally notorious for vandalising vehicles; ripping off windscreen wipers, mirrors and even licence plates in the past (to local mechanics delight). The cheeky behaviour resulted in the park implementing a special ‘baboon bus’ so visitors can travel that section of the park without risking their cars moving parts. And in England, well, you need your windscreen wipers.
However,the bus hasn’t been operating for the last few months due to the Covid restrictions, and although the park is opening to visitors, only self-driving tours are currently permitted to maintain social distancing.
Recently it is believed that local (human) tricksters have been arming the parks baboons,who are notoriously naughty creatures (there is a reason it’s called ‘monkey business’), though a local park worker also said that the clever primates may have raided toolboxes that were left unlocked, or maintenance vans and trucks.
Either way, reports state that the monkeys have been approaching visiting cars brandishing knives, screwdrivers, sticks and even a chainsaw, causing significant concern not only for the tourists, but for the safety of other animals within the park.
The park,on it’s website, warns potential visitors that the baboons are great fun, very inquisitive and always a barrel of laughs, but can cause damage to your car. It advises visitors that it is best to book the ‘Baboon Bus’ (currently not running due to Covid restrictions) to ensure their car remains intact, and they still get the full experience.
Currently, with the restrictions in place, the website says 'If you take a drive through our Baboon Jungle, we’re unable to return any car parts that our cheeky baboons may take'.
All we can say is – chainsaw-wielding baboons attacking tourists? Sounds like classic 2020 to us.