London Zoo has denied rumours that Kumbuka, a male silverback gorilla who escaped from his enclosure last night, did so by smashing a window.
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Malcolm Fitzpatrick, senior curator of mammals for the zoo, told BBC Radio 4 “categorically … that our male silverback gorilla Kumbuka did not break through any glass”. However, it is still unclear how the animal escaped from his enclosure.
Armed police were called in as staff sought to recapture Kumbuka who was tranquilised and taken back to the gorilla enclosure within an hour of escaping.
Visitors to the zoo were evacuated and ordered to take cover in buildings during the incident although the zoo say that there was never any danger to the public as the gorilla only escaped to a secure keeper area.
The Zoo is open to visitors today but the gorilla enclosure remains closed.
“It’s a full investigation that we are carrying out at present,” added Fitzpatrick. “The incident was dealt with very professionally at the time. The gorilla did not leave the secure keeper area.”
The Born Free Foundation said the incident was a “startling reminder” of the risks of keeping dangerous wild animals in captivity.