Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zoo Atlanta Exhibit Closed After Gorilla Charges Glass

glass cracked gorillaZoo Atlanta officials said they closed the gorilla exhibit after a 20-year-old male silver back gorilla charged a glass barrier resulting in cracks in the panel.

Officials said the incident happened Sunday at the Willie B. Conservation Center. Zoo workers said the gorilla, Taz, most likely charged the glass because he had undergone a routine medical exam on Saturday and was concerned about the presence of veterinarians in the viewing area.

“Gorillas often associate their veterinarians as the ones giving vaccinations and can react nervously – much like many people do with a visit to the doctor or dentist,” said Dr. Hayley Murphy, Director of Veterinary Services.

Taz was not injured in the incident, zoo officials said.

Zoo officials said the animal management and veterinary teams immediately initiated safety procedures by evacuating the Willie B. Conservation Center and bringing the gorilla group (including Taz) into their overnight holding area.

“World-class animal care and the safety of our guests and staff are of the utmost importance at Zoo Atlanta,” said Raymond King, Zoo Atlanta President and CEO. “We have many drills to prepare zoo staff for various incidents and that preparation allowed us to safely return Taz to his secure holding area with no injuries to either the public or to the animal.”

The gorilla exhibit is designed with a moat barrier with electric wire between the yard and the public viewing areas. The Willie B. Conservation Center where the incident occurred has several glass viewing panels that allow guests an unobstructed view. Zoo officials said neither guests or staff was ever in any danger.

Full story here.

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