BUFFALO, NY—( release) Just before 11:00 a.m., Koga, the Buffalo Zoo’s 24-year-old silverback gorilla, accessed the animal keeper aisle, located in a secure non-public area behind the gorilla exhibit. The keeper, who was servicing the area, sustained superficial bite wounds on her right hand and left calf. For safety, the keeper locked herself in one of the holding cages with Sidney, a 14-year-old gorilla, and her one-and-a-half-year-old baby, Amari, who both know the keeper well.
The keeper alerted the animal escape team. Protocols were in place and meticulously followed.
Visitors were escorted into safe areas. The Buffalo Zoo’s veterinary team immobilized Koga and placed him back into his holding area.
The keeper was treated onsite for her injuries and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.
“In this emergency situation, we experienced the best possible outcome thanks to the training and professionalism of the Buffalo Zoo staff, as well as members of the Buffalo Police Department, especially the SWAT team,” said Dr. Donna M. Fernandes, Buffalo Zoo President/CEO.
The Buffalo Zoo reopened to the public at 1:00 p.m. Koga will be off exhibit for the remainder of the day.
About the Buffalo Zoo’s Four Western Lowland Gorillas:
Koga was born at the Bronx Zoo. He was transferred to the Memphis Zoo in 1994, where he was exhibited with a group of four bachelors. He arrived at the Buffalo Zoo on April 25, 2007 to join the Zoo’s four female gorillas, Kwizera, Becky, Lily and Sidney, who had been without a silverback since the Zoo’s silverback, Omega, passed away in 2005.
Koga’s transfer from Memphis to Buffalo was recommended as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is designed to help a species maintain a stable, healthy and genetically diverse population in zoos.
On October 8, 2010, Buffalo Zoo staff welcomed baby, Amari, into their family. Amari was born to first-time parents, mother, Sidney, who was born at the Buffalo Zoo in 1997, and Koga.
Sidney, Amari and Koga now reside with Lily, who was born at the Buffalo Zoo in 2000.