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Silverback Gorilla escapes in Dutch zoo

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Anonymous's picture
Silverback Gorilla escapes in Dutch zoo

Hi everyone Smiling

This afternoon a silverback gorilla named Bokita, 11 years old, managed to escape from his enclosure in a Dutch zoo, Diergaarde Blijdorp. He attacked one woman, and left her wounded. He walked into the zoos restaurant. The panic that this caused, scared him and he started swaying his arms around him, striking people, windows, chairs and tables.
People present at the scene tell they were terrified.
The zoo was evacuated. It was a very busy day at the zoo as many people had the day off (yesterday was a holiday) and the weather was pleasant.
One hour later (16.00 CET) keepers managed to dart the gorilla. Details on how he managed to escape his enclosure are not yet clear!

Scary stuff!!! :shock: :shock:

Anonymous's picture

Gorillas are Class A animals when it comes to escapes from captivity, and as such they have to be immobilised as quickly as possible as the damage an ape, of that size and strength, can do is enormous. They are among the most gentle and peaceful of apes but are many more time stronger than a human. A frightened, agitated or protective animal will, understandably use its strength to 'protect itself and other family/group members' very much like humans will...... unfortunately for our weaker human body a protective swipe or bite from an adult gorilla could be fatal, even if it was not intended to be.
Unfortunately in some situations tranquilisers may not be deemed fast acting enough to safeguard the human visitors so the only option is to kill the animal. No-one who works with the animals wants to do this, but the fact is they have to put visitor safety first. Most zoos have trained members of staff to carry out this awful task should the need arise.

Direct eye contact with a gorilla is an aggressive act; a protective/agitated gorilla will respond to prolonged direct eye contact. At the zoo where I work, despite signs explaining this, there are some who think it 'fun' to stare the adult male down and get a reaction from him. It annoys me that there are so many people who totally lack respect and compassion for the other species we share this planet with. I'd like to see those responsible for throwing the stones at Bokito, in with him to see how 'brave and bolshy' they are then; unfortuntely you couldn't get away with that idea.

As they were able to immobilise Bokito and return him safely to his enclosure, I hope this means that he will not be put down. However gorillas have keen intelligence and good memories and they will have to do something to ensure he cannot breach his enclosure again, otherwise they may feel if he's likely to do it again, now that he knows he can, it's just too risky to keep him there. They may have to send him to another animal collection rather than put him down. At 11 years old he will have just reached sexual maturity so may not be the alpha male/silverback as the distinctive long canines and silver hair develops from about 12 yrs.
In the wild, lowland gorillas (the species most kept in captivity) have been seen wading through water up to their chests, so it's the electric wire fencing around the enclosure that keeps the captive animals from exploring further afield. The fact that Bokito breached this indicates that he was pushed into extreme action by the stupidity of a few irresponsible kids. He may now feel more stress if he feels vulnerable and of course the experience of screaming panicking people around him would be very unsettling and stressful for him. Gorillas like calm and peace ... as do most of us.
Whilst I feel for the people hurt and frightened by the experience.... Bokito has no-one to explain the situation to him and my wishes go out to him. His keepers will, I'm sure, do everything in their power to settle him and make sure he recovers from this traumatic experience.

Anonymous's picture

Latest news:

Kids were throwing stones at Bokito and his family, causing him to take a 3,5 meter leap, pull himself out of the water and attack a woman who had been having eye contact with him! She was a regular, almost every day at the zoo and Bokito is her favourite. It suprises me how there's always people that forget an animal is animal; they think "he knows me now, he would never hurt me".

Swift; I heard that too, I'm relieved they will keep him :D

Anonymous's picture

Hi All
Yes it is a story :shock:
The people who are caring in that Zoo are also very concerned about his "stress" level after this. So I think they will take care for his well beeing too!
Hope he will recover soon from all this!


Anonymous's picture

I just heard it on the news here too Fabby.
He ran right through the glass door of the restaurant on his wild walk :shock:

Anonymous's picture

More news has just been "released". The waterstream around the enclosure is four meters wide, two meters deep. So they still don't know how he managed to got out, but suspect he was being harrassed by people around the enclosure and leaped.
Four people injured: the woman he attacked has severe bite-wounds, one woman was pushed by Bokito and fell on her hip, one man in a wheelchair was hurt in the panic, and one person who worked at the zoo has gone into shock (I shouldn't laugh) when he turned around and found the gorilla within 15 centimeters of him.

So far Bokito is still okay, asleep. I hope they won't put him down, the people harrassing him should be banned from visiting zoos :x

WildCall: we have one of the most beautiful zoos closeby, sometimes you can spend and entire day there without seeing anything but squirrel monkeys stealing your food :lol:
They have a pack of African wild Dogs :D

WildCall's picture
Joined: Feb 14 2007

Scary stuff, fabby!

We had that happen here at the Dallas zoo. A male gorilla escaped and injured some people, including a child. Zoo officials shot him on the spot. The sad thing is, yes- they are gentle creatures and are just reacting out of fear/panic. I hope they don't put this gorilla down!

They have now re-designed our gorilla enclosure at the Dallas Zoo and it's just beautiful! There are lots of hills, streams, trees and places for the gorillas to hide. Doesn't always make for the easiest viewing, but they are very happy now!


Member of the buffalo frog fan club!http://s183.photobucket.com/albums/x23/lov4dogs/

L's picture
Joined: Feb 18 2006

I would hope they don't put the gorilla down, not his fault he's in a cage!

Anonymous's picture

I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the news. I love any monkeys and primates, but gorillas have always scared me, even though they are said to be the most gentle and shy of primates.

I would be terrified if I saw an adult male climbing over the stone walls and come for me :shock: :shock:

I think they will probably be sued and the gorilla killed :(

Anonymous's picture

wow fabby, they were lucky he didn't hurt more people !

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