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Gorilla Escapes From London Zoo

Posted: 09/11/2016

If you're involved in the running of an organisation that's a little bit out of the ordinary, you need to make sure you focus on emergency response planning and contingency planning so that no matter what happens, you've considered how best to react in the event of an incident occurring. Of course, it's easier said than done trying to predict future scenarios, but if you run a zoo then you certainly should have a plan in place as to what to do if one of the animals breaks free from its enclosure.

This has actually just happened at London Zoo, with a 29 stone silverback gorilla managing to make its way from its enclosure through two unlocked doors and down a corridor where one of the keepers was working. According to the Daily Telegraph, the ape - called Kumbuka - made good his escape on October 13th... and it certainly seems as though he had a whale of time while on the run, downing five litres of undiluted blackcurrant squash before he was tranquillised and taken back to his enclosure.

When the alarm was raised, armed police were called to the zoo and visitors there at the time were evacuated. The London attraction's standard escape response plan was triggered when Kumbuka's escape was noticed. The animal was immediately contained in one of the non-public parts of the zoo, whereupon he was tranquillised and returned to his rightful home.

Zoological director professor David Field discussed the incident and was quoted by the news source as saying: “Thanks to the incredibly close bond and relationship shared by the zookeeper and Kumbuka, the zookeeper was able to continually reassure Kumbuka, talking to him calmly and in the same light-hearted tone he would always use, as he removed himself from the area.”

He went on to say that the human error of two unlocked doors which allowed Kumbuka's escape was rare and in fact the risk posed by mechanical failure with regards to the automated security system was actually a bigger threat.

This is by no means the first time that an animal has escaped from its enclosure - or even the actual zoo itself. Earlier this year, a lynx escaped from Dartmoor Zoo in Devon, while an antelope made its escape from Paignton Zoo back in September. Armed police were again brought in to help catch the animal, with tracker dogs also scrambled. Sadly in this case, the antelope had to be put down after it was caught because the zoo was unable to return it to the herd amid fears of it being rejected or fighting a lot.

When you work in a consumer-facing business, it's arguably even more important to focus on emergency preparation. Accidents involving members of the general public can destroy a business, even if you're not at fault, so make sure you know what your responsibilities are and what to do if a serious incident does take place.