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Zoo Gorilla Escapes, Causes Stupid Comment

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 12th, 2009

Mike, before the escape. Riverbanks Zoo file photo.

A gorilla escaped his enclosure Friday, June 12, 2009, at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, in Columbia, South Carolina. The ape injured a worker before returning to his holding area on his own about five minutes later.

Zoo spokeswoman Lindsay Burke says a piece of bamboo drooped into the gorilla’s enclosure, and the animal was able to climb it and escape its cage.

The young food service worker, an employee of Aramark Corporation, was hit to the ground by the escaping gorilla. The zoo employee was treated at a hospital and released, said company spokesman Dan Smith. Aramark runs the cafeterias at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Smith declined to identify the worker or talk about the person’s injuries.

The zoo was packed with day care groups and visitors, who were ushered to indoor exhibits or outside the gates for about 45 minutes after the gorilla escaped.

The gorilla got out about a half-hour after the zoo’s 9 a.m. opening and returned to the gated sleeping area connected to his outdoor enclosure, which is separated from the public by different barriers in different spots, including mesh and plexiglass.

A second of three gorillas in the exhibit also went into the sleeping area when the escaped animal returned, but it took 40 minutes to coax a third male into the holding area, Burke said.

Burke said officials think that of the zoo’s three western lowland gorillas, the escapee was a 16-year-old male named Mike. Also in the exhibit are 24-year-old Chaka and 15-year-old Kimya. The all-male group was transferred from the Philadelphia Zoo on July 13, 2004.

The zoo was shut down temporary, but it didn’t stop at least one human from figuratively opening his mouth and inserting his hominoid foot.

Unfortunately, some politicians should not mix current events with politics.

Trey Walker, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster’s advisor, posted a news update on his Facebook site about the escape. Then, a longtime South Carolina Republican activist and former State Senate candidate Rusty DePass left, at Walker’s Facebook site, this comment about the escaped gorilla: “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.”

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


14 Responses to “Zoo Gorilla Escapes, Causes Stupid Comment”

  1. flame821 responds:

    The only response to such a stupid comment?

    Palm*face

    because I wouldn’t dignify his remarks with a verbal response

  2. maeko responds:

    i apologize for crassness of my state reps. i assure you that i have taken no part in getting them to their positions. how embarrassing….

  3. kittenz responds:

    That’s OK maeko, he just proved that some of us humans are more recently descended from apes than others.

    —Oh wait; I shouldn’t insult apes like that!

  4. Artist responds:

    What an insensitive imbecile!

  5. red_pill_junkie responds:

    So, haven’t they been able to get this escaped primate back into his cage?

    I’m talking about the South Carolina activist.

  6. glendoor42 responds:

    One the best quotes I ever heard about South Carolina was said after South Carolina seceded in 1860, former congressman James L. Petigru famously remarked,

    “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”

  7. Ceroill responds:

    As a fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy I have to interject : Shouldn’t that be ‘mostly harmless’?

    Apologies, my sense of humor is a bit odd at times.

    Seriously though, I recall from other zoo events in fairly recent years that there have been similar incidents with other apes. I seem to recall an orangutan that got out, roamed a short distance, and then soon went back to the enclosure on it’s own. (I say ‘it’ because I don’t remember the gender).

  8. kittenz responds:

    Since apes are so much faster and more powerful than human beings, and both intelligent and emotional to boot, any ape which escapes its enclosure has to be considered very dangerous. The ape may never have harmed anyone, but the potential is there.

  9. maeko responds:

    @glendoor…our particular brand of insanity is usually the fun kind. why else would half the population of Ohio and New Jersey want to live on our coast! we’re reel friendly!

  10. maeko responds:

    …course we’ll take the republic if we can get it!

  11. Primeval responds:

    As a long time resident of the Palmetto state, i am embarassed. It’s a shame that myself nor anyone else here is shocked that a S.C. state rep would say something of this nature.

  12. formerbfrocurator responds:

    That’s hilarious!

  13. glendoor42 responds:

    @ maeko, I live in extreme S.E. Alabama, trust me I understand.

    Like the joke that was making the rounds when Russia invaded Georgia, “It was said that all the Walmarts had run out of ammo in Alabama, When asked residents of Alabama said “Well Russia may have invaded Georgia but they sure as hell ain’t gonna get us.”

    @ Primeval I don’t think racial ignorance is just indicative of S.C. or the South as a whole. That comment could have come from a state rep from any of the 50 states. Stupidity knows no boundaries.

  14. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    don’t apologize for him just vote for someone else. The reason most representatives make lifelong careers of it is because few people vote for local reps, and they just tend to vote on name recognition. Maybe this will give him the wrong kind of recognition and people will say “this was the racist, I’ll vote for this other guy”.



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