400-pound gorilla escapes, bites zookeeper at Buffalo Zoo
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400-pound gorilla escapes, bites zookeeper at Buffalo Zoo

Cebu : Philippines | Mar 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM PDT
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Buffalo Zoo 2009

Skooter reporting 03/21/12

The gorilla's name is Koga, a 400-pound adult male gorilla bit a female zookeeper and escaped his cage at the Buffalo Zoo on Monday. Later, the animal was being tranquilized and captured when a SWAT team was called in.

The SWAT team leader captain Mark Maraschiello described the incident as, "the scariest thing I've ever done." He said that the 400 pound animal that is capable of who knows what could rip your arm out of its socket.

Koga, a 24-year-old silverback gorilla was able to take the chance of an unlocked door in his cage on Monday morning and sneaked into freedom behind it, used by zoo personnel only, zoo officials said.

The keeper who was bitten on her hand and calf, took care of Koga since he arrived in 2007. Zoo officials thought the act was of excitement rather than aggression.

Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandes said that the gorilla was probably just as surprised coming face to face with the zookeeper as she was with him.

The keeper’s identity was not released. She took refuge inside the living quarters of a female gorilla and her newborn baby, Fernandes said. It was reported that the keeper had a good relationship with the female gorilla that is from West Lowland like Koga, native to West Africa and the Congo River Basin.

The SWAT team was called in to secure the area. Zoo visitors were moved indoors and remained there throughout the 45 minute ordeal. Through a port hole, Koga was sedated by a veterinarian using a handheld blow pipe. This is the first zoo’s escape, Fernandes said.

After the gorilla was sedated, it was dragged by zoo staff back to its cage once the drugs took effect, about 15 minutes after they were administered.

The decision of the keeper to lock herself inside the separate habitat was the right thing to do to keep her from being further harmed, according to officials at the zoo. Several doors were locked to keep Koga from running wild through the zoo and beyond.

The injured zookeeper underwent a test at a nearby hospital, her injuries were not serious. An investigation into how Koga escaped was promised by Fernandes.

In 1944 Koga arrived in Memphis Zoo before he landed in Buffalo. Koga was born at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The said silverback gorilla has no history of unusual aggression, Fernandes said.

[Related: Gibbon attacks 2 children in Malaysia zoo escape]

[Related: Pa. zoo gives aging gorilla a bunny companion]

Source: Reuters/Odd News

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A silverback mountain gorilla is seen during a census inside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, about 550 km (341 miles) west of Uganda's capital Kampala, October 14, 2011.
skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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