Roar footage: Taronga zoo releases video of lions escaping from their Sydney enclosure

Taronga zoo has released video showing how five lions escaped their enclosure by scratching at and then breaking through the fence.

The five lions – four cubs and an adult male – can be seen clawing at the fence before squeezing underneath it and proceeding to wander around outside their Sydney exhibit.

The escape in early November sparked a lockdown of the zoo with a “code one” alert issued. Staff and visitors sought shelter until the lions were returned to their enclosure.

The footage released on Thursday shows the lions sticking close to the fence once they escaped – while lioness Maya remained inside the enclosure.

Cubs Luzuko, Zuri, Khari, Malika and father Ato all found a way out but, according to a statement from Targona zoo, they remained calm before attempting to return on their own.

“The five lions calmly investigated within metres of their main exhibit, before actively trying to find their way back under the fence as lioness Maya and keepers began calling for them,” the zoo said on Thursday.

Related: ‘Our worst nightmare’: Sydney’s Taronga zoo locked down after five lions escape enclosure

“The cubs and father Ato made several attempts to re-enter the exhibit and male cub Luzuko was the first to successfully do so. He was followed shortly after by female cub Zuri and male cub Khari.

“With encouragement from keepers, Ato returned to the exhibit before making his way into the dens to be reunited with his pride.”

Maya and her daughter Ayanna remained in the enclosure with Maya seen calling out to her cubs.

The zoo said cub Malika had to be tranquillised by the emergency response team and was subsequently transported back to the dens.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing with the zoo stating an “independent, specialist forensic engineer” was conducting a detailed examination into the fence’s failure and the “complex mesh fencing system”.

The review will also advise the zoo on any necessary repairs.

The lions are set to remain in an “outdoor back-of-house habitat” pending the findings of the review. They won’t be back in their main exhibit before Christmas.

New South Wales police were called to the zoo on Wednesday 2 November as a precaution after the lions escaped.

It comes nearly three years after a group of baboons escaped a research facility near Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital.

Animal escapes are rare at Taronga, but keepers are reportedly ready for such events with a plan of action involving anaesthetic dart guns and nets.