'Psycho' Gorilla Escapes Zoo Pen, Heads for Hooch

Kumbuka guzzled a gallon of nonalcoholic sugary syrup, but still
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2016 10:11 AM CDT
'Psycho' Gorilla Escapes Zoo Pen, Heads for Hooch
In this undated photo provided by ZSL on Friday, silverback gorilla Kumbuka sits in his enclosure at the London Zoo in London.   (ZSL/via AP)

David Field, director of the ZSL London Zoo, is trying to dismiss an animal escape earlier this month as "less dramatic than some would have you believe," as he writes in a blog post. But as the Guardian reports, the security breach ended up with an evacuation, armed law enforcement on the scene, and more than a gallon of a fruity syrup ingested by the one that committed the breach. The primate perp: Kumbuka, a silverback gorilla that made an "opportunistic" escape through two unlocked doors. The 405-pound "alpha male"—said by the Express to have an "insatiable sexual appetite"—was being summoned to dinner on Oct. 13 in his enclosure when he discovered the first unlocked door, slipped through it, then breezed through a second unsecured entryway, at which point he encountered the zookeeper.

The Sun notes the zoo was put on lockdown, with some visitors cowering in an onsite cafe and other enclosures. But a potentially disastrous situation was mitigated by what Field calls the "incredibly close bond" between gorilla—called a "f---ing psycho" by one employee and a "gentle giant" by another, per the Express—and human keeper, who chatted with Kumbuka "calmly and in the same light-hearted tone he would always use" until he could get himself to safety. As an alarm sounded at the zoo, Kumbuka explored the off-limits area, finding a stash of black currant squash—a concentrated nonalcoholic syrup used in fruity drinks—and downed more than a gallon of it. All told, Kumbuka was on the loose for about 90 minutes before employees could tranquilize him and return him to his den. (The BBC explains what ingesting that much squash would do to a gorilla.)

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