Gorilla recaptured after escaping enclosure at London Zoo

LONDON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — The London Zoo was placed on lockdown when a 400-pound silverback gorilla briefly escaped from his enclosure.

The zoo confirmed a lockdown went into effect about 5:15 p.m. Thursday when Kumbuka the 18-year-old silverback gorilla escaped from his enclosure. The lockdown was lifted about an hour later when the gorilla was tranquilized and returned to his pen.

The Daily Telegraph quoted a source as saying the gorilla escaped through an open door into a back area that is not accessible by the public.

“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 said. “That door shouldn’t have been left open.”

Malcolm Fitzpatrick, curator of mammals at London Zoo, did not comment on whether the gorilla escaped through an open door, but he denied earlier rumors that Kumbuka escaped by smashing a window.

“He did not smash glass to get out of his area. He got out of his back den area into a secure keeper area,” Fitzpatrick told the BBC.

He said the gorilla never left the secure keeper area during the incident, which ended without any reported injuries to human or ape.

“Yesterday evening [Kumbuka] was making happy gorilla grumbling noises and interacting with the rest of his family in the Gorilla Kingdom and also the keeper stayed on and gave him some extra treats yesterday evening,” Fitzpatrick said Friday.

The zoo opened as usual Friday but the gorilla enclosure remained closed to the public while the zoo conducted an investigation.

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