Updated 3:51pm 19/10/16 -
ZSL London Zoo has completed the initial stage of its internal investigation, to determine the events that led to the escape of Kumbuka, the western lowland gorilla, on Thursday 13 October 2016.
The investigation revealed that Kumbuka was able to exit his off-show night den through an unlocked door. He then had access to a zookeepers’ only area through a second security door which had not yet been properly secured.
The unlocked door on Kumbuka’s den was missed during a zookeeper’s routine checks, and we are continuing to investigate the factors which allowed this mistake to go unnoticed.
We are therefore satisfied with the structural and mechanical integrity of the animal management areas within Gorilla Kingdom, and that this incident was caused by human error.
Our escape procedures are rehearsed in regular drills, and while we appreciate the scale of the response may have appeared extreme to onlookers, it is a necessary part of the protocols in place to protect our visitors, staff and animals.
Kumbuka recovered brilliantly from his emergency sedation, and after being reunited with his family that night, immediately resumed his role as the troop’s leader.
As the silverback in the group Kumbuka displays classic gorilla behaviour; beating his chest, posturing, and demonstrating his prowess and strength. This reinforces his position as the alpha male and ensures the troop continues to see him as their leader.
We continue to monitor the gorillas as usual, and are considering any further measures that could reduce the risk of a similar mistake in the future.
Our Zoological Director shares his thought on Kumbuka and the incident on a blog here: www.zsl.org/blogs/kumbuka-the-gorilla-what-actually-happened