Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ape escape


Gorillas seem to have a split personality in the common mind, and not without good reason - especially when these great apes are confined to an enclosure in the zoo. Most of the time they seem quite docile, but then you see a photograph like this and are reminded of their strength and potential ferocity. Like other apes, they are smart, their personalities differ...and they like to try to escape. It happens regularly, sometimes resulting in injuries, but no deaths that I could find, to zoo patrons or animal handlers. Prompted by an escape on Monday, here is a list (and not a comprehensive one) of escapees with links to the zoos and the news reports:

Koga (pictured above)
24-year-old silverback, 400lbs
Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, New York
2 hrs. in non-public area, minor injuries
3/19/12

Mbundi and Ntondo
males weighing over 400lbs each
Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, Missouri
Escaped into a non-public feeding area for less than 1/2 hour
2/17/12

Tufani
19-year-old, 180lb female
Dallas Zoo, Dallas, Texas
Loose for undetermined duration without incident
2/13/10

Mike
male
Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens, Columbia, South Carolina
Minor injuries to zoo employee while loose for less than 45 minutes
6/12/09

Jabari
300lb male gorilla
Dallas Zoo, Dallas, Texas
Serious injuries to zoo visitors while loose for 45 minutes, animal fatally shot
3/18/04


Evelyn
27-year-old 280lb female

Denver Zoo, Denver, Colorado
45 minutes in keeper's area
1/8/04


Little Joe

300lb adolescent male
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, Massachusetts
Serious injuries to zoo visitors leading to 2-hour chase
9/28/03

Little Joe
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, Massachusetts
In public area, but recaptured in 10 minutes
8/13/03


Anonymous
10-year-old, 150lb female
Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Loose in public area for 45 minutes
2/4/01


Evelyn (video here)
24-year-old 175lb female
Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, California
Loose in the zoo for more than an hour
10/12/00


Jim

350lb 12-year-old male
Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, California
In viewing area briefly
7/00


Hercules
340lb silverback
Dallas Zoo, Dallas, Texas
In non-public area, serious injuries to zookeeper
11/28/98


Rocky and Tammy
375lb male and 180lb female
Little Rock Zoo, Little Rock, Arkansas
Non-public area
5/27/97


Casey
400lb male
Como Zoo, St. Paul, Minnesota
Loose in public area for 45 minutes
5/13/94


Kongo
500lb male
Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
Serious injuries to zookeepers during transfer
9/28/92


Jimmy
400lb male
Miami Metrozoo, Miami, Florida
Serious injuries to zookeeper in non-public area
9/28/92


Mema
400lb male
San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California
Roamed in public area for 2 1/2 hours
6/22/92


Note that Evelyn is mentioned twice. She is in fact notorious for escaping. Zoo curator Michael Dee says, “She’s opportunistic. On her last escape it would appear that a vine...had somehow gotten within her reach. She got a running jump and managed to get over.” During the breakout in 2000, Evelyn spent her free time having a look at the giraffes and elephants. On a previous escape attempt, Dee reveals that she swatted a bystander’s bottom!

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