Quantcast

London Zoo Placed on Lockdown When Gorilla Escaped 'Through Open Cage Door'

Animals

The London Zoo was placed on lockdown Thursday after a 400-pound adult western lowland silverback gorilla escaped from his enclosure around 5:15 p.m. local time.

Visitors at the Gorilla Kingdom exhibit were given quite a scare when the 18-year-old silverback, Kumbuka, began smashing his way out of the enclosure—a few seconds of which was caught on video.

Some visitors were ushered into indoor areas where they could be kept safe and others were evacuated while Gorilla Kingdom staff and police searched for Kumbuka.

Malcolm Fitzpatrick, curator of mammals at the zoo, told The Guardian Kumbuka's escape was a "minor incident" and that he got into a secure keeper area that was not open to the public. He was tranquilized around 7 p.m. and returned to the Gorilla Kingdom where he was given extra treats and was interacting with the rest of his family.

"At no time were any of our visitors in any danger," Fitzpatrick said. "The gorilla did not get out of the safe space, there were only about 100 visitors, it was the end of the day and I would like to thank all of those visitors for co-operating and moving into buildings."

The zoo is launching a full investigation into how Kumbuka got out of his enclosure, but sources say that the cage door to the gorilla's enclosure was left open. "Every enclosure has a gated area which is off-limits to the public to stop animals running straight past when the door is opened," the source told The Telegraph. "That door shouldn't have been left open."

The Born Free Foundation said Friday it is "deeply concerned" about Kumbuka's escape and is calling for an "urgent inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding it.

"While we are relieved that this incident apparently ended without injury to visitors or to Kumbuka, it is yet another startling reminder of the risks associated with maintaining dangerous wild animals in captivity," Chris Draper, associate director for Animal Welfare and Care at the Born Free Foundation, said. "This incident could have ended very differently."

When the escape occurred, the Born Free Foundation said it was already investigating "unconfirmed reports from a BBC journalist of damage to the perimeter glass at the gorilla enclosure and of a previous near-escape involving the gorillas."

Born Free, which wants to see zoos phased out, is also calling on the government advisory committee on zoo issues to investigate the safety and welfare of great apes in UK zoos.

"How many more times does this sort of incident have to happen? How many times must people be put at serious risk before what Born Free has been saying for years is acknowledged? Zoos simply cannot guarantee the safety of their visitors and their animals," said Will Travers, president of the Born Free Foundation.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


hadynyah / E+ / Getty Images

By Johnny Wood

The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.

The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.

Here are some of the challenges the river faces.

Read More Show Less

Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Sponsored
DESIREE MARTIN / AFP / Getty Images

Wildfires raging on Gran Canaria, the second most populous of Spain's Canary Islands, have forced around 9,000 people to evacuate.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
Wolves in Mount Rainier, Washington. Ron Reznick / VW Pics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Plateau Creek near De Beque, Colorado, where land has been leased for oil and gas production. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

By Randi Spivak

Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.

Read More Show Less
Global SO2 Emission Hotspot Database / Greenpeace

A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.

Read More Show Less
The huge surge this year in Amazon deforestation is leading some European countries to think twice about donations to the Amazon Fund. LeoFFreitas / Moment / Getty Images

By Sue Branford and Thais Borges

Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated:

Read More Show Less