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Gorilla’s near-escape at Calgary Zoo leads to suspension

More monkey business at the Calgary Zoo yesterday — this time involving a gorilla — has led to a zookeeper’s suspension.

More monkey business at the Calgary Zoo yesterday — this time involving a gorilla — has led to a zookeeper’s suspension.

The zoo confirmed it suspended an “experienced” zookeeper for failing to properly secure the gorilla’s outdoor exhibit that allowed seven-year-old Shana to leap from a pile of ice and onto the perimeter screen glass.

Calgary Zoo director of conservation Cathy Gaviller said Shana perched briefly atop the fence, but has a shy personality and he leapt back into the outdoor habitat when an employee spotted him.

“His curiosity got the best of him for a moment, but he very quickly changed his mind. He and the other gorilla, Zola, were brought indoors immediately,” Gaviller said.

“There was no danger to the public as the zoo hadn’t opened yet. It all happened in just a few minutes.”

Gaviller said the zoo is taking the situation seriously and will look into additional precautionary safety measures.

Zoocheck Canada’s campaign director Julie Woodyer is frustrated to learn of another incident at the Calgary Zoo due to human error.

“A gorilla on the loose can be a very dangerous thing and they are lucky he decided to go back inside. It’s obviously a very bad situation,” Woodyer said.

Woodyer pointed out recent incidents involving a knife left in the gorilla enclosure and a door closing on a capybara point to a serious problem.

“Sure they can say things happen sometimes, but this keeps happening again and again. I keep getting calls about these incidents.”

The zoo is currently under review by a panel of industry experts after a string of incidents dating back two years.

 
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