(ANIMAL NEWS) Koga, a 400 pound gorilla locked up at the Buffalo Zoo, made a break for it when he noticed that the gate to his “habitat” was left open. In desperation, the gorilla, who has no previous history of aggression, lashed out at a zoo keeper and bit her hand and calf. Similar to the case of Tilikum, it’s not surprising that a wild animal like Koga is turning violent from the sheer frustration of being in captivity. No matter how great zoo “habitats” are, they will never compare to the wild. Read on to learn how Koga was captured and what the zoo’s president has to say. — Global Animal
Ali Berman, Ecorazzi
In a scene that would conjure up images of frustrated primates in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” a 24-year-old gorilla named Koga found momentary freedom from his cage at the Buffalo Zoo.
One can’t begrudge the always locked away 400 pound male for making a dash through an open door. West Lowland gorillas are emotionally complex animals who, in the wild, would spend their days roaming anywhere between 3 to 18 miles. No matter how nice the enclosure at the zoo, it can’t quite compare to their natural habitat. Unfortunately, he ran into one of the zoo keepers and bit her hand and calf. The keeper was able to escape from further harm by entering a female’s habitat.
While Koga never got so far as the public areas of the zoo and he had no history of aggression before the incident, a creature his size on the loose was taken seriously by authorities. A SWAT team was sent in while a veterinarian sedated him using a hand held blow pipe.
We certainly are glad the zoo keeper was able to get away without being severely harmed. Zoo president Donna Fernandes said, “I’m sure it was very dramatic for (the zoo keeper) and for all the keepers. It was pins and needles.” We’d like to add that it was most likely also traumatic for Koga.
There will be an investigation looking into how he was able to get loose in the first place. We hope everyone (Koga included) is recovering from what must have been a very stressful ordeal.