London

London Zoo gorilla Kumbuka recaptured after enclosure escape

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Media caption"There was no danger" says London Zoo's Malcolm Fitzpatrick

A male gorilla has been recaptured after escaping from its enclosure at London Zoo.

The zoo said Kumbuka, a western lowland silverback, had escaped into the secure keepers' area.

It added that the gorilla, which arrived from Paignton Zoo in Devon in early 2013, had not escaped into a public area.

A spokesman for the zoo said that at no time were any of its visitors in danger.

Police said the incident had now "concluded" after the gorilla was shot with a tranquilliser dart.

Image copyright Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Image caption The zoo said Kumbuka, a western lowland silverback, arrived from Paignton Zoo in Devon in early 2013

Visitor Brad Evans said customers had been locked inside the cafe at about 17:10 BST and told by staff a gorilla had escaped from its enclosure.

Met Police officers arrived at the zoo at 17:20 and said the animal had been recaptured shortly before 19:00.

Mr Evans said he had been visiting the zoo with his daughter and son-in-law and they did not want the gorilla to be shot.

He added that visitors had since been allowed to leave the zoo.

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Media captionEyewitnesses describe the moment a gorilla escapes at London zoo

Eyewitnesses Hannah O'Donoghue-Hobbs and Charlotte Neild likened the gorilla's escape to "like being in Jurassic Park ".

They told BBC London they had been escorted away from windows near the enclosure by the police.

They added the gorilla had been seen by other visitors and that it had appeared to be "really angry" and was "banging on the cage".

'Up and grumbling'

Malcolm Fitzpatrick, curator of mammals at London Zoo, told the BBC: "At 17:15 our male gorilla got out of his back dens into a secure keeper area. Our staff were able to respond quickly and Kumbuka was tranquilised and returned to his dens.

"We're happy to report that he's up and grumbling, and interacting with the rest of his family in his gorilla kingdom."

Image copyright Hannah O'Donogue-Hobbs
Image caption Police arrived at London Zoo to assist in the recapture

Mr Fitzpatrick said the event had been a "minor incident" that was over "within an hour".

An investigation is ongoing, he said, but "at no time were any of our visitors in danger, the gorilla did not get out of his safe space. There were only about 100 visitors in the zoo".

Asked why visitors had been told to shelter in zoo buildings, Mr Fitzpatrick reiterated there had been "no danger" to the public, but staff had "thought it was the best process".

He said the gorilla "is a very popular animal and he's doing very well," adding: "I understand he will be given his favourite treats a bit later on."

The recapture comes after Harambe, another gorilla, was shot and killed at Cincinnati Zoo in the US after a young boy fell into its enclosure.

The boy was not seriously hurt and Harambe's death sparked anger on social media.

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