Sydney’s Taronga Zoo was placed under heavy lockdown on Wednesday morning as five lions escaped from their enclosure.

At 6:30am on Wednesday, one adult lion and four cubs were spotted outside of their main enclosure, but were still separated from the rest of the zoo by a six-foot fence.

When the animals were discovered, a full scale emergency response was enacted in the zoo.

Locals from the area reported loud alarms and directions for all staff apart from the lion keepers to go to “safe havens”.

A Sydney family who were staying overnight at the zoo as part of its luxury “roar and snore” program told the Sydney Morning Herald they were told to leave their tent and run.

“They came running into the tent area saying, ‘this is a Code One, get out of your tent and run, come now and leave your belongings’,” Magnus Perri said.

“We had to run to this building, it was only 50 or 70 metres. They counted us, then locked the door.”

Taronga Zoo’s Executive Director Simon Duffy confirmed that one of the cubs was tranquillised by a veterinarian on site.

Taronga Zoo issued a statement just before 9am confirming the lions had escaped but they had been returned to their enclosures with no further issues.

“An emergency situation occurred this morning at Taronga Zoo Sydney when five lions were located outside their enclosure. The Zoo has strict safety protocols in place for such events,” the statement read.

“All persons on site were moved to safe zones and there are no injuries to guests or staff. All animals are now in their exhibit where they are being closely monitored.”

“The zoo will be open as normal today. Further details will be provided when possible.”

Image credits: Getty Images / Nine News

This article first appeared on OverSixty.