The zoo's Alyn Cairns said the zoo's chimps were "quite cowardly" so went back into their enclosure themselves during the incident, which happened as the zoo was closing up for the day.
A visitor to the zoo caught footage of the breakout and posted it on social media.
CHIMPANZEES at Belfast Zoo managed to escape their enclosure yesterday after using a fallen branch as a makeshift ladder.
" at the chimpanzee, it did indeed leave the enclosure, whereupon it encountered zoogoer Chantal Baxter, who told the BBC that the chimp "just appeared from behind a bush".
"They're intelligent primates and know they're not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves", he said.
Video shared to Facebook by Danielle Monaghan - who was at the zoo with her children, partner, and his nieces and spoke with the BBC about the incident - showed the animals managing to fashion a kind of ladder out of a tree branch before scaling it and posting up on their enclosure wall.
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"It may have been a different story if it had been aggressive but it absolutely wasn't".
The escape was the second at the zoo this year after a red panda went missing overnight before being discovered in a nearby garden. It made us feel at ease.
Belfast city council, which runs the zoo, made a statement that one chimpanzee left its enclosure for a short time.
We also know from said trilogy that most of the apes are reasonable but are just afraid to trust humans and rightfully so, we're the worst.
Families described their shock at coming across a chimpanzee on one of the zoo's paths.
A spokeswoman said: 'Zookeepers were present as the chimpanzee quickly returned from an adjacent wall to the rest of the group inside the enclosure'.
He added that once they were safely contained, the chimps were locked into an inner enclosure.