The Director of the Ogba Zoo, Benin, Andy Ehanire, has faulted the circumstances behind the death of one of the chimpanzees in the care of the zoo.
Residents of Ogba, on the outskirt of Benin City were thrown into panic penultimate week when a chimpanzee allegedly escaped from its cage in the Ogba Zoological garden and attacked some fun seekers at the zoo.
One of the victims, Nwoke Chidozie, who sustained injuries in the incident, said he saw other visitors to the zoo scampering for safety after the chimp allegedly escaped from its cage.
“Upon sighting the animal, I tried to save my children from getting attacked, but was attacked by the animal,” he said.
He alleged that the animal grabbed his last son, Divine, and he had to fight the animal by grabbing it at the neck in order to rescue his son.
Police spokesperson, Peter Ogboi, confirmed the story, and added that men of the Airport Road Police Station had to shoot the animal dead when it became clear that it might cause harm to other people.
“The police were invited to the Ogba Zoo on the day of the incident, following the stampede caused by the chimpanzee,” he said. “When it became evident that the chimpanzee had became a threat to others on sight-seeing at the zoo, the best we could do was to ensure that those that have left the cage will have no access to people to injure then. At that point, what was normal was for the police to ensure that the animal does not exist.”
Mr Ehanire however faulted the report of the incident by the victims, including Mr Chidozie, accusing the man and his family of actually aiding the animal to escape from the cage.
He also debunked allegation that the animal caused physical harm to several other visitors to the zoo on the fateful day, as reported by a local television station.
“The man provided the chimpanzee with the iron rod with which it broke the cage,” he said. “A full grown chimpanzee like the one in question is 5 to 7 times stronger than a man. He would not have lived to tell the story if he held the animal. This same man who claimed that the animal attacked him mistakenly struck an attendant of the zoo with an iron rod on the head, while fighting with the chimpanzee. The attendant passed out on the spot, and other visitors had to prevail on the same man who claimed he was attacked to drive the attendant to a hospital in his car.”
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