London Zoo gorilla escape: Kumbuka escaped through two open doors to guzzle concentrated blackcurrant squash
A gorilla who escaped through two unlocked doors at London Zoo was cornered while he knocked back five litres of full-strength blackcurrant squash.
Kumbuka, an 184kg male western lowland gorilla who is a popular attraction for visitors to London Zoo, escaped from his enclosure on Friday morning (NZT) into what the zoo said was a "secure keepers' area".
Armed police descended on the zoo and visitors were locked inside buildings until the animal was subdued by a tranquiliser dart.
Officials said the public was not in danger and the 215cm-tall Kumbuka was back in his enclosure in just over an hour.
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Zoological Society of London's Zoological Director, Professor David Field, has revealed in more detail the events behind the escape in a blog post titled Kumbuka the Gorilla: What Actually Happened.
Field said Kumbuka snuck from his den through an unlocked door, and another unsecured security gate, through to a staff-only corridor in an opportunistic bid for freedom at feeding time.
A zookeeper in the area scrambled to secure the gorilla, as the thirsty primate happily guzzled five litres of concentrated blackcurrant squash.
"Staff raised the alarm that triggered our standard escape response, while Kumbuka briefly explored the zookeeper area next door to his den, where he opened and drank five litres of undiluted blackcurrant squash," Field said.
"Kumbuka was immediately contained in the non-public area by quick-thinking zookeepers responding to the alarm, where he was tranquilised and moved back into his den."
Field said the breach of our security protocols was "incredibly serious", but the incident itself was "less dramatic than some would have you believe".
"Within two hours Kumbuka was back with his family, snacking on treats, and probably wondering what all the fuss was about.
"The professional responses of our zookeepers, our security teams and the emergency services was exemplary and thanks to the zookeepers' strong relationship with Kumbuka they were able to reassure him during the incident.
"I can certainly tell you that there were no broken locks, Kumbuka did not smash any windows, he was never 'on the loose', and his normal gorilla posturing reported by visitors earlier in the day was unrelated to the incident."