Going Ape

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The male gorilla that escaped from his den at ZSL London Zoo, 13 October, and into a non-public keeper area, apparently caused at least one conference delegate attending an event at the venue, to take cover at the time. The venue has remained tight-lipped over what event the delegate was attending, however.

The 18-year-old gorilla – named Kumbuka – was tranquilised by vets and a full investigation is underway at the zoo to determine what happened exactly.

Visitors were briefly locked inside buildings at the zoo, which is one of London’s top tourist spots and regularly hired out for meetings and events.

Jonathan Mall, a neuropsychologist from Hamburg, was reportedly attending a conference at the venue when a call came over the tannoy alerting staff to the situation with the gorilla. The delegate, The Times newspaper reported, was told to leave the immediate area.

A terse statement on the zoo’s website said at the time: “The exhibit is secure and we are grateful to all of our staff and visitors for their co-operation, enabling us to resolve the situation quickly and efficiently.”

The Born Free Foundation said the incident was a ‘startling reminder’ of how dangerous wild animals could be when kept in captivity.

The zoo’s website events section proclaims: “A great addition to any event, animal encounters can be booked for both daytime and evening events.”

The zoo has not replied to CN’s repeated requests for information on which event was taking place at the time.


Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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