Mischievous Monkey Causes Massive Blackout in Zambian Tourist Town

By George Dvorsky on at

Around 50,000 residents of Zimbabwe’s Western province were without electricity on Sunday, after a baboon wandered into a power station and fiddled with the equipment. Incredibly, the baboon managed to survive the incident.

As Africa News reports, the blackout affected homes and businesses in Livingstone, a popular tourist town near Victoria Falls, and the surrounding area. The baboon likely wandered in from a nearby national park, and its curiosity likely led it to the strange, high voltage machines.

“The baboon tampered with the A station and the B3 and B5 machines in our power station cutting electricity to Western Province and of course Livingstone town so we have about 28,000 customers in Livingstone and 22,000 customers in Western Province. So the baboon cut our power station around 06:50 hours,” Henry Kapata, a spokesperson for the state-run power company ZESCO, told a local radio station, according to Africa News. “The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage. You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.”

Kapata told the radio station, Byta FM, that, had the baboon been human, “it would have been taken to court and possibly jailed for 25 years.”

ZESCO managed to turn the 108 megawatt hydroelectric station back on after about five hours, and the baboon was handed over to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). Miraculously, the baboon survived the shock—but it’s currently in ZAWA’s Intensive Care Unit. The primate’s condition has not be disclosed at this time, and it’s not know if it will survive.

Last year, a monkey in Kenya was involved in a similar incident when it caused a statewide blackout of the entire African country. [Africa News, Deutsche Welle, Reuters]

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