Gorilla Goings-On

TheQuixote

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Gorillas making good babysitters?

Gorilla to be left holding the baby

TV presenter Donna Air and her zoo-owner boyfriend Damian Aspinall are planning to put their baby daughter in the hands of a 200lb gorilla.

The couple are to place baby Freya in the gorilla enclosure at Howletts Zoo and let her be carried off by the female of the group.

They have no qualms about the "ritual" despite five keepers being killed by animals at Howletts and it's sister wildlife park, Port Lympne.

Describing his plans for Freya, Aspinall told London's Evening Standard: "It's a ritual. I'll probably give her to the dominant female who will take her off, sex her, and introduce her to the others.

"I did this with my other daughters, now it's Freya's turn."

Air fully approves of the plan and neither believe Freya will be in any danger.

"Why would I not trust them? I know them, I grew up with them," Aspinall said. THe multi-millionaire took over running of the zoo near Canterbury, Kent, after the death of his father.

Wolverhampton Express & Star, 12th November 2003.
.................................................................

I have visions of Gorilla's in school uniforms, eating jam roly-poly, struggling with algebra, growing up alongside Aspinall. The fact they are still 'wild' animals, and could probably bite the skull of a human if provoked or play baby-boomerang with little Freya, beggars belief. I hope Social Services will keep an eye on this... It's sick!

:rolleyes:
 

GodzillaGirl

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Re: Gorillas making good babysitters?

Quixote said:
Gorilla to be left holding the baby

Describing his plans for Freya, Aspinall told London's Evening Standard: "It's a ritual. I'll probably give her to the dominant female who will take her off, sex her, and introduce her to the others.
I admit to being ignorant in the ways of the gorilla, but what does that mean?
 

beakboo1

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As far as I know nobody has ever been killed by a gorilla at Howletts, just by the tigers, and Freya will be in no danger at all IMO. This is a piece of sensationalist journalism.
GG, it means the dominant female will have a look to see what sex the baby is.
 

TheQuixote

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They'll give the baby a good sniff I presume, make sure she isn't a threatening male and then hand her around the group for fun "ooooh look at this, it's another one of those pink stinky things again...does he want us to eat it this time or wot??"
:D

Seriously, it's a 'ritual' in the sense of 'more money than sense for some people', and not much grip on reality. :)
 

beakboo1

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It's a family tradition.
But then the Aspinalls are completely bonkers :)
 
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It's a wild animal, wild animals are unpredictable, I just hope it's a publicity stunt and not something they're going to do for real.
 

TheQuixote

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Lillith said:
It's a wild animal, wild animals are unpredictable, I just hope it's a publicity stunt and not something they're going to do for real.
That's my hope too, Lillith....
 

beakboo1

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Lillith said:
It's a wild animal, wild animals are unpredictable, I just hope it's a publicity stunt and not something they're going to do for real.
I would say gorillas are fairly predictable. They're less likely to harm a baby than a human would be actually, especially as the gorilla troup know the family very well indeed.
And they will do it, they always do stuff like this.
 
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errmmmm primates arnt nice cuddely things and ahve been know to kill babys of thier own kind if they see them as a threat to thier authority...even in the case of Chimps to hunt and eat babys of their own species.. this kind of activity would get sociel workers involved in any normal family..
 

beakboo1

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I certainly wouldn't hand anyone's baby to a bunch of chimps. Gorillas are a different kettle of fish I think. They aren't cuddly wuddly or anything, and you wouldn't want to provoke them, but they are much more like us, and don't forget, they know these gorillas, so it's really no different to handing the baby to the woman next door.
 
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beakboo said:
I certainly wouldn't hand anyone's baby to a bunch of chimps. Gorillas are a different kettle of fish I think. They aren't cuddly wuddly or anything, and you wouldn't want to provoke them, but they are much more like us, and don't forget, they know these gorillas, so it's really no different to handing the baby to the woman next door.
ha!... call the health visitors i say..theres to much of this handing babys to wild animal things going on. Only yesterday i alowed a pack of wolves to look after Harry as they are realted to lap dogs after all, no harm could come to him after all wolves never attack people do they. (they dont actuly)..... i think they need an award for "stupid rich people"
 

beakboo1

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Of course if they were working class and handing their child to gorillas the Social Services would be down there like flies on shite.
You didn't really give Harry to wolves did you? I know the nursery wants to charge you but I'm sure there's another way
 

escargot

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All my children were raised with the help of untrained primates.
I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Course, I insisted that the ex's family learned to communicate through grunts and gestures first. I'm not stupid.:rolleyes:
 

KeyserXSoze

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Gorillas Get TV Sets

http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/361/12050_zoo.html
Moscow Zoo to Have TV Sets in Cages
02/13/2004 17:00
"We want them to pick their noses less and think more instead"
Gorillas in the Moscow zoo will soon watch TV programs, zoo director Vladimir Spitsyn says. He adds that a TV set will be put into the winter cage where a couple of gorillas live. The animals will be able to watch videos about the life of monkeys in the wilderness. Vladimir Spitsyn thinks these programs are important for intellectual progress of anthropoids.

The zoo director says much attention is paid to occupations of the gorillas. "We want them to pick their noses less and think more instead." At that, Vladimir Spitsyn tells that today the gorillas work with special primitive devices for their own development. As similar experience of international zoos shows, watching TV programs improves the psychological condition of animals. A TV set will be put into the cage this summer when the animals spend more time outdoors.
 

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Originall posted by Keyser Soze:

....The animals will be able to watch videos about the life of monkeys in the wilderness....
'What's on tonight?'

'Nothing much, just another one of those reality TV shows.'

'Might as well just sit here and pick me nose.
Why can't we have a nice Jane Austen adaptation?'

'Gorillas in the Mist is on tommorrow.'

'More bloody reality TV, then. Still, it gives me time for quality arse-scratching.
 
A

Anonymous

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I thought lots of t.v. encouraged nose and arse picking. How about just letting the gorillas be gorillas not what we think gorillas should be.
 

Kondoru

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Exactly. There are too many brain dead pets out there watching TV.

The function of Gorillas is to pick their noses, scratch their asses and SOCIALISE!

(Now dont you go telling me TV is good for that.)
 

Kondoru

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(Of course it will make the visitors feel at home, seeing the gorillas loafing around in front of the telly...)
 

lopaka

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Nah, the gorillas will probably change the channel to get Lokomotiv Moscow matches, really become hard-core fans. Then when the team flames out of the Champions League...well, let's just say that if you thought human soccer hooligans could be destructive...:eek!!!!: ;)
 

oll_lewis

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the gorillas in Longleat safari park in England have had their own tv set since the early 80's at least, so its not a new idea.

I wonder if Fox news is the gorillas favorate channel.
 

Melf

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gerald the gorilla sketch comes to mind :D
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Posted on Fri, Mar. 19, 2004


Gorilla Shot to Death After Zoo Escape

LISA FALKENBERG

Associated Press



DALLAS - Dallas Zoo officials said they can't explain how a 300-pound gorilla escaped from his enclosure, injuring four people before he was shot to death.

Police evacuated an estimated 300 people from the zoo compound Thursday and killed Jabari, a 13-year-old male western lowland gorilla, after he charged at officers.

Zoo workers armed with tranquilizer guns had pursued the animal through the jungles of the Wilds of Africa exhibit for about 40 minutes, but could not gain a clear shot, officials said.

"It tried to charge two of our officers, so we had to shoot it," Deputy Police Chief Daniel Garcia said. "You can imagine the pandemonium we had out here when he got loose. We felt terrible we had to put this animal down."

The injured included a mother and her toddler son. Rivers Noah, 3, was in fair condition at Children's Medical Center with multiple bites to his head and chest. His mother, Keisha Heard, 26, who was bitten on the legs, and Cheryl Reichert, who suffered arm injuries, were treated at hospitals and released.

"I was like, 'This is not happening, this is so unreal,' cause he just came out of nowhere," Heard said Friday on NBC's Today show. "I'm watching this gorilla. He has my son in his mouth, he's attacking him, and I tried to help him and there wasn't really anything that I could do. ... He slings me back across the concrete area where we are. So it was really scary."

The fourth injured person, a child, was treated at the scene.

Jabari was housed with six other gorillas in the two-acre enclosure surrounded by a 16-foot concave wall. Some youths had reportedly teased Jabari shortly before he escaped about 5 p.m.

"He had to have scaled the wall," said zoo director Rich Buickerood. But "this habitat is among the best in the country. This blows our minds."

He said he did not know why zoo employees, who carried pepper spray, did not use it on the gorilla.

Some zoo-goers hid inside a restaurant and the monorail surrounding the Wilds of Africa exhibit.

The gorilla darted in and out of thick bamboo and trees before officers spotted him on a nature trail. He was holding a pair of white children's sandals when he came within 15 feet of two officers who shot him, police Lt. Anthony Williams said.

The 114-year-old zoo has been in financial straits and the nonprofit Dallas Zoological Society recently proposed a county takeover. Buickerood said last month that the zoo staff had been cut and maintenance postponed because of the fund shortage.

In 1998, a zookeeper was injured by a 340-pound gorilla after a cage door was left open. The zookeeper suffered more than 30 puncture wounds. That animal was captured with a tranquilizer dart.

Zoo officials said the Wilds of Africa section and the Monorail Safari were closed Friday, but would reopen Saturday.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/8221979.htm
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Gorilla's escape still a mystery

Zoo seeks witnesses, defends response that ended in ape's death


11:43 PM CST on Friday, March 19, 2004

By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Zoo officials said Friday that they were baffled by how a 13-year-old lowland gorilla managed to escape from an enclosure they had considered impenetrable, calling it a "one-in-a-million chance."

They were left with two theories, both of which seemed highly unlikely, zoo officials and experts said.

One was that the ape somehow bounded over the habitat's barrier wall. The other was that the gorilla scaled a tree inside the enclosure and used it to cross over into public areas.

"It's a complete mystery to us," zoo director Rich Buickerood said. "Whatever happened, it was freakish."

Officials asked that any witnesses come forward to help them in their investigation of Thursday's incident, which resulted in injuries and the gorilla's death.

They also defended the reaction by employees and police. The zoo's emergency plan, which seeks first to protect the safety of visitors, is a national model and worked effectively Thursday, Mr. Buickerood said.

He also said the gorilla had to be stopped with bullets rather than tranquilizer darts when the animal charged Dallas police officers. The officers were armed, but no one with tranquilizer guns had a clear shot at the animal at the moment of attack.

Jabari the gorilla escaped from his state-of-the-art 2-acre habitat sometime before 4:45 p.m. Thursday. He roamed along the public nature trails, injuring three people, two of them in the nearby forest aviary exhibit.

Zoo officials said a boy lent a pocketknife to an adult visitor, who cut through mesh covering the aviary exhibit, allowing two victims – Keisha Heard and her 3-year-old son, Rivers – to escape.

Ms. Heard, who was bitten on the leg, was treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital and released. Rivers was at Children's Medical Center Dallas on Friday in fair condition and is expected to recover.

Cheryl Reichert of Mesquite, who was bitten on the arm, was treated at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and released.

The gorilla roamed for about an hour through the trails of the Wilds of Africa exhibit before being shot and killed when it charged two Dallas police officers.

The incident will be investigated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 1998, a zookeeper at the Dallas Zoo was attacked by a gorilla when a door was left open in a nonpublic holding area. In 2000, a chimpanzee escaped into a surrounding neighborhood. The animal was killed when it was hit by a tranquilizer dart and fell into a power line.

Zoo officials have also launched an investigation into the gorilla's escape. Mr. Buickerood said he thought it was unlikely that understaffing, human error or maintenance issues had contributed to the escape. Escaping through the gorilla holding building at the rear of the habitat would have meant negotiating several secured doors.

Visitors told zoo officials that the incident was triggered when others taunted the animal Thursday afternoon, Mr. Buickerood said. Although such misbehavior by zoo guests is not unheard of, a young male gorilla like Jabari may have become unusually agitated or enraged, causing him to try to escape, he said.

Zoo officials said they hoped that somebody on the grounds Thursday – an unusually busy day on which 6,000 visitors were recorded – would come forward with an eyewitness account of how Jabari broke loose. Police said several hundred people were at the zoo when the gorilla escaped.

Such a witness might give officials insight into how Jabari performed the seemingly impossible task of getting out of his enclosure.

Vertical leap

The gorilla habitat is surrounded by a concave wall – out of the sight line of zoo visitors – that would require a 12- to 16-foot vertical leap. The rim is surrounded by a "hot wire" that delivers an electric shock equivalent to a bee sting.

When the habitat was built in 1990, the wall was tested by rock climbers to prove that it was unassailable, Mr. Buickerood said. The design won an award for "significant achievement" by the American Zoological and Aquarium Association in 1992.

Dan Wharton of the Central Park Zoo in New York City said he had seen the Dallas gorilla habitat and thought its security was impressive. Mr. Wharton, the American Zoological and Aquarium Association's designated expert on gorillas, also said he thought Jabari would be incapable of surmounting the wall.

"I just can't imagine it," he said. "If you look at the size of the gorilla and the height of the wall, it would just be a phenomenal leap. I don't see how it would be possible."

Tree theory

Another theory was that Jabari scaled a tree to make his escape. But the trees carry netting and electric wiring designed to foil any escape attempt.

Furthermore, a 300-pound ape could not have crossed the tree without disturbing the netting, the branches or the areas outside the enclosure. No disturbance was found, zoo curator Ken Kaemmerer said.

"There's no evidence of fur, footprints, hair in the wires, feces, fluids, bent grass – nothing that would tell you that he had been there," Mr. Kaemmerer said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Buickerood said, zoo officials would press for an explanation and would make changes to prevent future incidents.

At a news conference outside the entrance to the zoo, Mr. Buickerood extended his sympathy to the victims and his gratitude to local residents for supporting the zoo.

Mr. Buickerood said Friday's attendance was unusually high. The zoo offered free admission, but the Wilds of Africa exhibit remained closed.

"Quite frankly, we didn't know what to expect, but more than 3,000 people showed up by noon," he said. "We were overwhelmed. This is a show of support."

Some people brought cards and flowers to the administrative offices, and a donor, whom zoo officials did not name, offered
Gorilla's escape still a mystery

Zoo seeks witnesses, defends response that ended in ape's death


11:43 PM CST on Friday, March 19, 2004

By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Zoo officials said Friday that they were baffled by how a 13-year-old lowland gorilla managed to escape from an enclosure they had considered impenetrable, calling it a "one-in-a-million chance."

They were left with two theories, both of which seemed highly unlikely, zoo officials and experts said.

One was that the ape somehow bounded over the habitat's barrier wall. The other was that the gorilla scaled a tree inside the enclosure and used it to cross over into public areas.

"It's a complete mystery to us," zoo director Rich Buickerood said. "Whatever happened, it was freakish."

Officials asked that any witnesses come forward to help them in their investigation of Thursday's incident, which resulted in injuries and the gorilla's death.

They also defended the reaction by employees and police. The zoo's emergency plan, which seeks first to protect the safety of visitors, is a national model and worked effectively Thursday, Mr. Buickerood said.

He also said the gorilla had to be stopped with bullets rather than tranquilizer darts when the animal charged Dallas police officers. The officers were armed, but no one with tranquilizer guns had a clear shot at the animal at the moment of attack.

Jabari the gorilla escaped from his state-of-the-art 2-acre habitat sometime before 4:45 p.m. Thursday. He roamed along the public nature trails, injuring three people, two of them in the nearby forest aviary exhibit.

Zoo officials said a boy lent a pocketknife to an adult visitor, who cut through mesh covering the aviary exhibit, allowing two victims – Keisha Heard and her 3-year-old son, Rivers – to escape.

Ms. Heard, who was bitten on the leg, was treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital and released. Rivers was at Children's Medical Center Dallas on Friday in fair condition and is expected to recover.

Cheryl Reichert of Mesquite, who was bitten on the arm, was treated at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and released.

The gorilla roamed for about an hour through the trails of the Wilds of Africa exhibit before being shot and killed when it charged two Dallas police officers.

The incident will be investigated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 1998, a zookeeper at the Dallas Zoo was attacked by a gorilla when a door was left open in a nonpublic holding area. In 2000, a chimpanzee escaped into a surrounding neighborhood. The animal was killed when it was hit by a tranquilizer dart and fell into a power line.

Zoo officials have also launched an investigation into the gorilla's escape. Mr. Buickerood said he thought it was unlikely that understaffing, human error or maintenance issues had contributed to the escape. Escaping through the gorilla holding building at the rear of the habitat would have meant negotiating several secured doors.

Visitors told zoo officials that the incident was triggered when others taunted the animal Thursday afternoon, Mr. Buickerood said. Although such misbehavior by zoo guests is not unheard of, a young male gorilla like Jabari may have become unusually agitated or enraged, causing him to try to escape, he said.

Zoo officials said they hoped that somebody on the grounds Thursday – an unusually busy day on which 6,000 visitors were recorded – would come forward with an eyewitness account of how Jabari broke loose. Police said several hundred people were at the zoo when the gorilla escaped.

Such a witness might give officials insight into how Jabari performed the seemingly impossible task of getting out of his enclosure.

Vertical leap

The gorilla habitat is surrounded by a concave wall – out of the sight line of zoo visitors – that would require a 12- to 16-foot vertical leap. The rim is surrounded by a "hot wire" that delivers an electric shock equivalent to a bee sting.

When the habitat was built in 1990, the wall was tested by rock climbers to prove that it was unassailable, Mr. Buickerood said. The design won an award for "significant achievement" by the American Zoological and Aquarium Association in 1992.

Dan Wharton of the Central Park Zoo in New York City said he had seen the Dallas gorilla habitat and thought its security was impressive. Mr. Wharton, the American Zoological and Aquarium Association's designated expert on gorillas, also said he thought Jabari would be incapable of surmounting the wall.

"I just can't imagine it," he said. "If you look at the size of the gorilla and the height of the wall, it would just be a phenomenal leap. I don't see how it would be possible."

Tree theory

Another theory was that Jabari scaled a tree to make his escape. But the trees carry netting and electric wiring designed to foil any escape attempt.

Furthermore, a 300-pound ape could not have crossed the tree without disturbing the netting, the branches or the areas outside the enclosure. No disturbance was found, zoo curator Ken Kaemmerer said.

"There's no evidence of fur, footprints, hair in the wires, feces, fluids, bent grass – nothing that would tell you that he had been there," Mr. Kaemmerer said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Buickerood said, zoo officials would press for an explanation and would make changes to prevent future incidents.

At a news conference outside the entrance to the zoo, Mr. Buickerood extended his sympathy to the victims and his gratitude to local residents for supporting the zoo.

Mr. Buickerood said Friday's attendance was unusually high. The zoo offered free admission, but the Wilds of Africa exhibit remained closed.

"Quite frankly, we didn't know what to expect, but more than 3,000 people showed up by noon," he said. "We were overwhelmed. This is a show of support."

Some people brought cards and flowers to the administrative offices, and a donor, whom zoo officials did not name, offered $1 million to finance any changes that may be needed to upgrade the exhibit.

Mr. Wharton said incidents such as Thursday's gorilla attack are exceedingly rare in U.S. zoos.

"The whole zoo world will be interested in seeing what happens in Dallas," he said.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/032004dnmetzooescape.2bceb.html

[edit: Another report:

March 20, 2004, 4:18PM

Gorilla rampage sparks safety concerns

Escaped animal harms 4 at Dallas Zoo before shot

By LISA FALKENBERG
Associated Press
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistor...w.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2458285
DALLAS -- The scene at the Wilds of Africa exhibit was wilder than anything most zookeepers have witnessed in the jungle: A 340-pound gorilla breaks out of its enclosure and goes on a 40-minute rampage through a forest, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and attacking three other people before being shot to death by officers.

Federal regulators are investigating the Dallas Zoo over Thursday's escape, zoo officials are trying to figure out how the gorilla managed to break out, and animal welfare advocates are questioning whether officers had to kill the beast.

"Clearly, this is a zoo's worst nightmare," said Dan Wharton, director of New York's Central Park Zoo and chairman of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Gorilla Species Survival Plan.

Thirteen-year-old Jabari broke out of the enclosure as several families and children took in the jungle exhibit Thursday afternoon. After escaping, the gorilla darted in and out of the exhibit's thick bamboo and trees and attacked four people, including two women and two children.

Police were forced to evacuate an estimated 300 people from the zoo, while some guests hid inside a restaurant and the monorail surrounding the Wilds of Africa exhibit.

Exactly how the gorilla got loose was unclear. Some youths had reportedly teased Jabari shortly before he escaped, but it was not known if that was a factor.

Zoo employees searched Friday for broken tree limbs, footprints, torn foliage, fur -- anything that could provide a clue to how Jabari escaped. They found nothing.

"We're just beginning to wonder whether this is some kind of superhuman feat of physical prowess," said Rich Buickerood, who has directed the Dallas Zoo for 12 years. "For 14 years, this has been a fabulous exhibit, so for this to happen is just incredible. We just can't believe it."

Buickerood said human error isn't to blame and that Jabari couldn't have slipped through a door.

"We're thinking the only thing that could have happened is he got over that wall somehow," he said.

Wharton disagrees.

"Anybody who's worked with great apes has not been able to compute anyway that a gorilla could get up a 15-foot wall," Wharton said. "When you boil it all down, at some level, one has to assume human error. There really is no explanation."

Only two gorillas, including one in Boston last year, have escaped in the last five years in North America, said Wharton, who coordinates the records for the 380 gorillas on the continent.

Johnpaul Jones, who designed the Dallas exhibit, said it's impossible for any heavy-boned gorilla that can reach only 9 feet to have scaled the wall. He said the animal couldn't have broken the viewing glass -- three half-inch layers bonded with clear plastic -- and it isn't likely he passed through the three or four doors blocking the exit.

Past escapes were caused by human error, such as leaving doors open or broken limbs lying around, Jones said.

"There's an inherent danger when you do some naturalistic things," said Jones, whose Seattle-based company pioneered natural zoo settings 30 years ago. "You're always worried about accidents or escapes."

But he said his exhibits, which include some at the famous San Diego Zoo, have increased quality of life for animals and education for people.

Those injured at the Dallas Zoo included a mother and her toddler son. Rivers Noah, 3, was in fair condition at Children's Medical Center with multiple bites to his head and chest. His mother, Keisha Heard, 26, was bitten on the legs.

"I was like, `This is not happening, this is so unreal,' because he just came out of nowhere," Heard said Friday on NBC's Today show. "He has my son in his mouth, he's attacking him, and I tried to help him and there wasn't really anything that I could do. ... He slings me back across the concrete area where we are."

Heard was treated and released along with a woman who suffered arm injuries. A child was treated at the scene.

Federal regulators said their investigation will look at whether the zoo was in full compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, but they would not provide specifics on possible violations.

Darby Holladay, a spokesman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the zoo could face fines or have its license suspended or revoked if it is found out of compliance.

Police are conducting an internal investigation.

Dallas Deputy Chief Daniel Garcia said the gorilla tried to charge two officers, "so we had to shoot it."

"You can imagine the pandemonium we had out here when he got loose. We felt terrible to put the animal down," Garcia said.

Lt. Anthony Williams said the officers were standing between the gorilla and more than a dozen people when they fired three shots using rifles provided by the zoo. The gorilla appeared to stand up after the first shot, then fell to the ground as the final shots were fired.

The gorilla, holding a pair of children's sandals, got within 15 feet of two officers before they opened fire, Williams said.

Dieter Steklis, chief scientist and vice president for the Atlanta-based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, said police could have tried to contain the gorilla with nonfatal techniques, including using rubber bullets or cornering it with a wall of 15-20 people, preferably keepers the animal recognized.

"It sounds like, somehow, there was a bit too much panic on hand and too little judgment of the gorilla's behavior," said Steklis, who has confronted charging gorillas in the wild.

Senior Cpl. Chris Gilliam, a Dallas police spokesman, said the officers used the best method available. Workers armed with tranquilizer guns had pursued the gorilla during his rampage, but could not gain a clear shot, zoo officials said.

"We're talking about a (340-pound) gorilla," Gilliam said. "Plastic bullets wouldn't help."

He said he did not know why zoo employees who were armed with pepper spray did not use it.

The 114-year-old zoo has been in financial straits in recent years. But budget woes aren't connected to the escape, Buickerood said.

In 1998, a 25-year-old zookeeper was mauled by a 340-pound silverback gorilla at the zoo after the door to the animal's cage was left open. The attack lasted more than 30 minutes, leaving the zookeeper with more than 30 puncture wounds. That animal was captured with a tranquilizer dart.
million to finance any changes that may be needed to upgrade the exhibit.

Mr. Wharton said incidents such as Thursday's gorilla attack are exceedingly rare in U.S. zoos.

"The whole zoo world will be interested in seeing what happens in Dallas," he said.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/032004dnmetzooescape.2bceb.html

[edit: Another report:

March 20, 2004, 4:18PM

Gorilla rampage sparks safety concerns

Escaped animal harms 4 at Dallas Zoo before shot

By LISA FALKENBERG
Associated Press
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistor...w.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2458285
DALLAS -- The scene at the Wilds of Africa exhibit was wilder than anything most zookeepers have witnessed in the jungle: A 340-pound gorilla breaks out of its enclosure and goes on a 40-minute rampage through a forest, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and attacking three other people before being shot to death by officers.

Federal regulators are investigating the Dallas Zoo over Thursday's escape, zoo officials are trying to figure out how the gorilla managed to break out, and animal welfare advocates are questioning whether officers had to kill the beast.

"Clearly, this is a zoo's worst nightmare," said Dan Wharton, director of New York's Central Park Zoo and chairman of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Gorilla Species Survival Plan.

Thirteen-year-old Jabari broke out of the enclosure as several families and children took in the jungle exhibit Thursday afternoon. After escaping, the gorilla darted in and out of the exhibit's thick bamboo and trees and attacked four people, including two women and two children.

Police were forced to evacuate an estimated 300 people from the zoo, while some guests hid inside a restaurant and the monorail surrounding the Wilds of Africa exhibit.

Exactly how the gorilla got loose was unclear. Some youths had reportedly teased Jabari shortly before he escaped, but it was not known if that was a factor.

Zoo employees searched Friday for broken tree limbs, footprints, torn foliage, fur -- anything that could provide a clue to how Jabari escaped. They found nothing.

"We're just beginning to wonder whether this is some kind of superhuman feat of physical prowess," said Rich Buickerood, who has directed the Dallas Zoo for 12 years. "For 14 years, this has been a fabulous exhibit, so for this to happen is just incredible. We just can't believe it."

Buickerood said human error isn't to blame and that Jabari couldn't have slipped through a door.

"We're thinking the only thing that could have happened is he got over that wall somehow," he said.

Wharton disagrees.

"Anybody who's worked with great apes has not been able to compute anyway that a gorilla could get up a 15-foot wall," Wharton said. "When you boil it all down, at some level, one has to assume human error. There really is no explanation."

Only two gorillas, including one in Boston last year, have escaped in the last five years in North America, said Wharton, who coordinates the records for the 380 gorillas on the continent.

Johnpaul Jones, who designed the Dallas exhibit, said it's impossible for any heavy-boned gorilla that can reach only 9 feet to have scaled the wall. He said the animal couldn't have broken the viewing glass -- three half-inch layers bonded with clear plastic -- and it isn't likely he passed through the three or four doors blocking the exit.

Past escapes were caused by human error, such as leaving doors open or broken limbs lying around, Jones said.

"There's an inherent danger when you do some naturalistic things," said Jones, whose Seattle-based company pioneered natural zoo settings 30 years ago. "You're always worried about accidents or escapes."

But he said his exhibits, which include some at the famous San Diego Zoo, have increased quality of life for animals and education for people.

Those injured at the Dallas Zoo included a mother and her toddler son. Rivers Noah, 3, was in fair condition at Children's Medical Center with multiple bites to his head and chest. His mother, Keisha Heard, 26, was bitten on the legs.

"I was like, `This is not happening, this is so unreal,' because he just came out of nowhere," Heard said Friday on NBC's Today show. "He has my son in his mouth, he's attacking him, and I tried to help him and there wasn't really anything that I could do. ... He slings me back across the concrete area where we are."

Heard was treated and released along with a woman who suffered arm injuries. A child was treated at the scene.

Federal regulators said their investigation will look at whether the zoo was in full compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, but they would not provide specifics on possible violations.

Darby Holladay, a spokesman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the zoo could face fines or have its license suspended or revoked if it is found out of compliance.

Police are conducting an internal investigation.

Dallas Deputy Chief Daniel Garcia said the gorilla tried to charge two officers, "so we had to shoot it."

"You can imagine the pandemonium we had out here when he got loose. We felt terrible to put the animal down," Garcia said.

Lt. Anthony Williams said the officers were standing between the gorilla and more than a dozen people when they fired three shots using rifles provided by the zoo. The gorilla appeared to stand up after the first shot, then fell to the ground as the final shots were fired.

The gorilla, holding a pair of children's sandals, got within 15 feet of two officers before they opened fire, Williams said.

Dieter Steklis, chief scientist and vice president for the Atlanta-based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, said police could have tried to contain the gorilla with nonfatal techniques, including using rubber bullets or cornering it with a wall of 15-20 people, preferably keepers the animal recognized.

"It sounds like, somehow, there was a bit too much panic on hand and too little judgment of the gorilla's behavior," said Steklis, who has confronted charging gorillas in the wild.

Senior Cpl. Chris Gilliam, a Dallas police spokesman, said the officers used the best method available. Workers armed with tranquilizer guns had pursued the gorilla during his rampage, but could not gain a clear shot, zoo officials said.

"We're talking about a (340-pound) gorilla," Gilliam said. "Plastic bullets wouldn't help."

He said he did not know why zoo employees who were armed with pepper spray did not use it.

The 114-year-old zoo has been in financial straits in recent years. But budget woes aren't connected to the escape, Buickerood said.

In 1998, a 25-year-old zookeeper was mauled by a 340-pound silverback gorilla at the zoo after the door to the animal's cage was left open. The attack lasted more than 30 minutes, leaving the zookeeper with more than 30 puncture wounds. That animal was captured with a tranquilizer dart.
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2458285 ]
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Another follow up on the gorilla death - he looks a fine specimen too it is a pity it seems to be the fault of some daft kids:

Posted on Tue, Mar. 23, 2004


2 teens taunted gorilla, zoo says

By Mary Mckee;Eva-Marie Ayala
Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau


DALLAS ZOO VIA KXAS/CHANNEL 5

Jabari escaped from his enclosure last week and was killed by police.

DALLAS - A zoo visitor saw two teen-age boys throwing rocks or ice at Jabari the gorilla shortly before he escaped from his exhibit Thursday and attacked three people at the Dallas Zoo, officials said Monday.

Mammal curator Ken Kaemmerer said the man told zoo officials that he warned the teens not to taunt the gorilla and was walking away from the exhibit when he heard someone yelling that the animal had escaped.

"He just ran," Kaemmerer said. "So he didn't see where the gorilla got out."

Officials said the information, which appears credible and came from a hot line created to collect information about the incident, is helpful because it shows what might have provoked Jabari's escape.

But it also left the zoo without a solid explanation of how the 13-year-old gorilla got past walls 12 to 16 feet high with moats and electrified wires. Jabari, who injured two women and a 3-year-old boy, was fatally shot by police after he charged at them.

"I'm thinking he just got angry enough at being harassed and he either made the climb of his life or a leap and got lucky," Kaemmerer said.

In a tape of one 911 call released by authorities Monday, a zoo secretary calmly tells the operator that police are needed. In another call, Dallas resident Enrique DeLeon urgently requests help.

"There's a gorilla loose, and it's going after people," he says frantically.

"Are you serious?" the dispatcher asks.

DeLeon responds, "I'm serious. I swear to God. I am not joking. There's people yelling. It's going after people. ... There's kids in here. Please. ... Please hurry up."

In an interview Monday, DeLeon said he and his family were near the meerkat exhibit when they heard banging and screams.

DeLeon said he first saw Cheryl Reichert, 39, trying to close a door to the aviary, but the gorilla forced it open and jumped on her. Then DeLeon saw Jabari go after 3-year-old Rivers Heard and his mother, Keisha Heard, 31.

"He picked him up like a rag doll and then bit him in the head," DeLeon said. "His mother started hitting the gorilla on the back, but that just made him more mad. He threw young Rivers and then turned around and attacked her."

DeLeon said he borrowed a utility knife from a young boy and began cutting the mesh netting of the aviary. The gorilla had left the area, and he told Heard to bring her son out that way.

"She was yelling, 'Hurry up! Hurry up!' But I told her she needed to be quiet or the gorilla would come back up," he said.

After they were pulled through the netting, a zoo employee armed with a fire extinguisher led them to a nearby barn, he said. DeLeon said he began administering first aid to Keisha Heard while DeLeon's wife, Andrea, attended to Rivers.

The paramedics arrived soon afterward, and then three gunshots were heard, DeLeon said.

"My wife and I tried to be calm through it, but once everything was over, we just started crying," he said. "It was just surreal, everything we saw."

Kaemmerer said he isn't sure whether the zoo will ever be able to figure out how Jabari escaped. He continued to urge witnesses to call the zoo's hot line at (214) 671-0888 and emphasized that officials are trying to figure out what happened, not assign blame.

"I would have hoped at this point either through the media or through the hot line we would have gotten something," he said. "What I'm afraid of is the people that saw this or caused this are afraid they're going to be liable."

Kaemmerer also responded to questions about why zoo officials with tranquilizer guns could not reach Jabari before he was shot by police armed with safari-style rifles that had been provided by the zoo.

At the time of the shooting, Kaemmerer said the zoo's immobilization team had not gone in to capture the gorilla because personnel were still focusing on the first phase of their emergency operation, which is securing zoogoers and evacuating the injured.

"The vet or immobilization team will come to our command post, but he doesn't go into action until after all public and staff members are safe and the injured people are removed," Kaemmerer said.

"Once we had gotten people out, then we would have gone into the phase of contain and capture," he said.

Kaemmerer said that ideally police and zoo officials would have coordinated their plans. But he said the police were probably responding to 911 calls about a raging gorilla.

"Unfortunately, the police encountered Jabari and he charged them, and they really had no choice," Kaemmerer said.

Zoo officials are awaiting the arrival of the Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, which will conduct its own investigation of the incident, before putting some of the gorillas back on exhibit.

Kaemmerer said he hopes to reopen the north portion of the gorilla exhibit before the weekend and display two older gorillas, Jenny and Fubo. Jabari was in the south portion of the exhibit when he escaped.
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/8254936.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
 

headnspace

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Gorilla deaths - two in one week

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1102238.htm

South Africa's crime-fighting gorilla dies
A gorilla who became a cult figure in crime-ridden South Africa after he was shot confronting an armed robber on the run died on Wednesday, the Johannesburg Zoo said.
Max, a 200 kilogram ape, rose to fame in 1997 after being wounded by a terrified gunman who made the mistake of jumping a moat into his zoo enclosure while fleeing police.
Max was shot as he fiercely defended his territory.
He also vented his anger on two policemen in pursuit, biting one on the buttocks and arm.
"Max died in his sleep in the early hours of this morning," the Johannesburg Zoo said in a brief statement.
A zoo spokeswoman said the celebrity primate was 33.
A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
Max became a hero in a city blighted by violent crime and police used him as a mascot in crime prevention programmes.
"Max helped raise community awareness about crime...it's sad (that he died)," said Johannesburg police spokesman Chris Wilken.
Police also presented Max with a bulletproof vest - which was several sizes too small.
--Reuters

http://www.wgnx.com/Global/story.asp?S=1840658&nav=E8ZRMqaR

Gorilla Dies Suddenly at Zoo Atlanta

May 4, 2004
(Atanta-AP) -- Caesar the silverback gorilla, who was loaned last year to Zoo Atlanta by the Los Angeles Zoo, died unexpectedly this afternoon. Caesar was 26 years old.
Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Helen Bioty says he had a gastrointestinal problem over the past week, but the illness had been treated and seemed under control. He was not on public display when he died about two pm.
No other health problems had been detected. An official cause of death will be determined by a necropsy. Known as the first gorilla born by Caesarian section -- hence his name -- Caesar was an overweight lowland gorilla when he arrived on loan from the Los Angeles Zoo on August 28th.
Zoo officials hoped he would mate with females in the family of popular Zoo Atlanta mascot Willie B, who died in February 2000 at 42.
After six months in quarantine and a diet that brought his weight from 600 pounds to about 500 pounds, Caesar made his Zoo Atlanta debut in March.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


I was JUST at the Atlanta zoo on Sunday, May 2, and saw Caesar, an amazing silverback gorilla. The article says he came from the LA zoo, but people from San Diego say he was from the San Diego Zoo (one of the world's best).

I found it odd that Caesar dies, just after I saw him, but THEN I hear about another gorilla dying in South Africa. One or the other might not be Fortean, but TWO IN A MATTER OF DAYS?? Yes, it is probably coincidence, but these animals are so rare that one must question whether it might not be coincidence.

Odd I tell you, ODD.

:eek:
 

Mighty_Emperor

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And another with some mummifying oddness:

S.F. Zoo's beloved gorilla loses fight for life

Unprecedented surgery at UCSF fails to save Kubi


Patricia Yollin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 19, 2004




Kubi, the proud and well-loved patriarch of the San Francisco Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit, died Tuesday afternoon, 11 days after undergoing unprecedented surgery by a team of UCSF doctors who removed his diseased right lung and attracted worldwide attention in the process.

"It didn't work," said Dr. Freeland Dunker, the zoo's head veterinarian, soon after Kubi died. "But it gave people the imagination to try."

The 29-year-old silverback Western lowland gorilla, who had suffered from chronic bronchitis and recurring pneumonia before his May 7 surgery, died at 3: 30 p.m.

Tuesday night, after a necropsy was performed, Dunker said an abscess had developed behind his stitches and sutures, separating them and causing massive internal bleeding.

"He wouldn't eat any solid foods this morning," said Mary Kerr, his keeper of 26 years, on Tuesday evening. "But he was drinking bottles of lemonade with a certain gusto. He was active."

In midafternoon, hoping to coax Kubi's appetite back to life, she went to a zoo cafe to get a half-gallon of milk to make oatmeal for him. When she returned 10 minutes later, he was lying motionless on his back, not breathing.

Kerr said Gorilla World's four females were lined up, staring through the mesh that separated their outdoor cage from their lone male companion, sequestered indoors.

Kerr added that Bwang, Kubi's mate of 22 years, was tossing pieces of food in his direction, trying to make him move.

Although Kerr made sure that none of the females saw Kubi's body being removed for his necropsy, they kept smelling the cage afterward and staring at the spot where he had died.

Kubi's 5-year-old daughter, Nneka, repeatedly vocalized her distress, while older females Zura and Pogo tried to comfort her.

"She has lost her father," Kerr said. "Kubi lost his own mother when he was 3. It's very traumatic. They're like humans in that respect."


The average life span of silverbacks is 35 years. Kubi had faced a 30 percent chance of succumbing during his operation and a 50 percent chance of dying within the next 30 days.

Everyone knew those odds -- but it was easy to forget them, watching the 422-pound gorilla rebound so quickly, happily gobbling up carrots and green beans and voicing amorous overtures to Bwang.

"He was doing very well over the last couple of days," Kerr said. "It's quite a shock. Our expectations had gotten pretty high."

Kubi, whose full name was Mkubwa -- Swahili for big and strong -- was an exceptionally gentle father to Nneka and his two sons, 15-year-old Shango and 10-year-old Barney, who both live elsewhere in the zoo.

And after more than two decades of life with Bwang, he was just as smitten as when they'd first met.

Although Kubi was born in the San Francisco Zoo on May 1, 1975, his parents, Bwana and Jackie, both came from the wild. Kubi's older sister is Koko, the famous Woodside "talking gorilla" adept at sign language.

Kubi's surgery was a ground-breaking daylong procedure, with the operation itself lasting 3 hours and 45 minutes. Until Friday, he was kept on 24-hour watch by a monitor 25 feet away, with keepers taking turns doing all- nighters and zoo vet Jacqueline Jencek putting in 36 hours straight.

On Friday, when it was time to deprogram the internal pump diffusing antibiotics into Kubi's body, it was Jencek who devised an unusual approach.

"She made up a little nest in the adjacent enclosure, and she put on sunglasses and laid down," said zoo spokeswoman Nancy Chan. "Kubi laid down next to her. He was very trusting. She was able to wave a little wand and deprogram it."

The sunglasses were a way to avoid eye-to-eye contact with the gorilla, who was smart enough to realize that the sight of a vet usually meant something unpleasant was about to happen.

The most engaging of apes, Kubi easily inspired this kind of devotion and ingenuity.

UCSF anesthesiologist Lundy Campbell and thoracic surgeons Chuck Hoopes and David Jablons were dropping by for lengthy visits with their hirsute patient, sometimes up to two hours, for days after his operation -- the first time ever that a gorilla has received chest surgery.

"We were all very surprised he died," Campbell said Tuesday night. "I generally visit all my patients after surgery to make sure they're doing all right. I felt no different about Kubi. I had really high hopes because he was doing so well."

And Tuesday afternoon, as the dispiriting news of the gorilla's sudden death began to spread, Kubi's first keeper came by to pay her respects.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks," said Carol Martinez, now retired. "It's a very heavy sadness. I knew him since he was born. I especially remember him full of more vim and vigor than you can imagine."

As Kubi's lifeless body, trussed-up in a hoist in the zoo hospital, was undergoing the necropsy -- his final medical intrusion -- zoo workers showed up for comfort and commiseration.

"This is losing a family member," Chan said.

The zoo had planned to allow Kubi to return to the outdoor part of his exhibit Friday. [bInstead, he will be cremated, with his feet, hands, skull and at least one leg preserved for educational purposes.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/05/19/MNG6Q6O80R1.DTL

Its a nice moving article and then at the end BOOM - they are hacking him up for 'educational purposes'. :(

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

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A follow up to the Dallas escape (and fatal shooting :( ):

Gorilla Leapt Over Wall, Officials Say

Tue Jun 15, 7:02 PM ET


By LISA FALKENBERG, Associated Press Writer

DALLAS - A gorilla that was shot to death by police after breaking out of its enclosure at the Dallas Zoo in March escaped by leaping over a 12-foot-wide trench and a wall that separates animals from visitors, officials said Tuesday.




Jabari, a 340-pound western lowland gorilla, went on a 40-minute rampage March 18, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and injuring three other people.

The gorilla enclosure is constructed so that animals are roughly at visitors' eye level, but they are separated from visitors by a 14-foot wall and the trench.

Zoo investigators believe the gorilla probably got a running start and sailed over the trench and the wall, clearing an electrical wire atop the wall that is supposed to give a mild shock.

"This is strictly a gorilla doing something that no one ever anticipated that a gorilla could do," zoo Director Rich Buickerood said as the zoo released the results of its investigation and reopened part of the exhibit.

The wire was not broken and had no hair on it, suggesting the gorilla was airborne when it cleared the wall, zoo spokeswoman Ellen Villeneuve said.

Young gorillas such as 13-year-old Jabari sometimes engage in athletic displays for other animals, Buickerood said.

"We know gorillas are typically not leapers," he said. "But we do know that particularly these younger guys like to do these display runs. And they charge around the habitat showing off. And we think that's exactly what Jabari did."

The zoo investigation found no human errors that might have led to the gorilla's escape, such as doors left open.

The zoo is raising the walls to 15 feet.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040615/ap_on_re_us/gorilla_escape_3
 

Kondoru

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Its a nice moving article and then at the end BOOM - they are hacking him up for 'educational purposes'.
Its not like Gorrillas pay medical insurance, but their healthcare needs are pretty much the same as humans.
 
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