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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Florida
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Riverbanks Zoo News
Old 06-05-2009

The zoo is sending its sea lions to Brookfield to prep the area for a new sea lion exhibit. Though the new sea lion exhibits is still a few years down the line.

SC zoo sending sea lions to Ill. to await new home -- chicagotribune.com
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Old 13-06-2009

Gorilla briefly escapes at the zoo...


Last edited by okapikpr; 13-06-2009 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 30-06-2011

ah Americans and their love for suing:
Free Times: Government - Zoo Worker Sues Over Gorilla Attack
29 June 2011

A former food service worker at the Riverbanks Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens says negligence at the state zoo led directly to his being attacked by a western lowland gorilla that escaped from its enclosure and sent scores of visitors scrambling for safety on an early June morning in 2009.

Daveil Morris, who filed his complaint in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, was an employee of Aramark, the independent contractor that runs the cafeterias at the zoo, on the morning of the escape.

According to his complaint, he was quietly working shortly after 9 a.m. on the morning of June 12, 2009, when he was “suddenly, aggressively and viciously” attacked by a gorilla that was roaming unconfined on the zoo grounds.

Media reports immediately after the incident said the zoo was packed at the time with day care groups and visitors who were ushered to indoor exhibits or outside the gates until the gorilla returned to a gated sleeping area connected to his enclosure.

They also reported that a food service worker was injured, but characterized the injuries as minor, and noted that the then-unidentified man was treated and released by a local hospital.

Morris, however, says he sustained bodily and personal injuries as a result of the attack that required extensive medical care, left him permanently disfigured and has since diminished his earning capacity.

Morris asserts the zoo failed to provide proper training, supervision and direction to the employees responsible for maintaining and confining the zoo’s animals, exhibits and overall premises, and that zoo officials failed to warn the public, both before and after the gorilla’s escape, of the dangers associated with gorilla’s outside their natural habitat.

Morris seeks unspecified damages on claims of negligence and strict liability.

He is represented by B. Reynolds Elliott of McDonald, McKenzie, Rubin, Miller and Lybrand of Columbia.

The zoo has no comment on the lawsuit, says Susan O’Cain, the zoo’s communications specialist.

However, O’Cain did reply to a question about whether employees sign a waiver or are trained to deal with escaped animals.

“Every person who comes to work on the grounds of the zoo, whether they be our employees, employees of contractors or volunteers, is given a policy spelling out what they should do and what their roles are should a dangerous animal get loose on the premise, and that policy is the subject of ongoing discussions with and among staff members,” O’Cain said.

Western lowland gorillas stand approximately 5 feet high, can weigh as much as 450 pounds, and are generally regarded as peaceful, zoo officials said.

In all, the gorilla, identified as a 16-year-old male named Mike, was free for about 45 minutes.

After an investigation, zoo Executive Director Satch Krantz said the gorilla, one of three in the enclosure, had climbed a piece of bamboo hanging over its enclosure to facilitate its escape.

The escape later became infamous after Rusty DePass, a state Republican activist and one-time state Senate candidate, quipped that the gorilla was an “ancestor” of First Lady Michelle Obama. DePass later apologized, explaining the comment was “clearly made in jest.”
okapikpr's link in the above post no longer works (which is why I generally quote the article), so I found this one still active (with news video): UPDATED: Gorilla Escapes at Riverbanks Zoo, Attacks Worker; Captured Shortly Afterwards | ABC 6 WJBF-TV
16 June 2009

A Western Lowland gorilla escaped from its enclosure at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, Friday morning, and was loose inside the zoo for five minutes. It attacked one food service employee, and then returned to its exhibit on its own.

Zoo executive director Satch Krantz wouldn't release the employee's name because he hadn't had a chance to talk to him yet, but said the worker was at home with cuts and bruises after being checked out at a local hospital.

Krantz says no one is sure which of the three male gorillasescaped, but handlers think it was Mike.

Michelle Benton, of Greenville, was at the zoo with her husband and their two daughters. Her husband and their 5-year-old daughter were in another part of the zoo while Michelle had their 2-year-old. They were walking near another woman who also had a small child when they heard her scream, looked up, and saw the gorilla right in front of the woman. The gorilla roared, but Michelle says the woman shook her stroller and the gorilla ran off.

Her thoughts when she saw a gorilla in front of her? "Very scared, just because I had a baby with me and she did. I mean, what do you do if that happens? I'd never had anything like that happen and I never, when you come to the zoo that's the last thing you think that would ever happen at the zoo. So I was pretty shaken up," she says.

Krantz says a food service employee at the zoo's pizza restaurant, which is across from the gorilla's outdoor exhibit, heard the commotion and came out to see what was happening. When he saw the gorilla, he tried to run back into the restaurant. The gorilla then took off after him, covering about 30 feet quickly.

“The gorilla did what gorillas do; he pushed him to the ground," Krantz says. "The young man had enough presence of mind, and I want to commend him for this, to roll up in a fetal position and, the words that I got indirectly from him were, he acted dead. The gorilla pushed him around a little bit and then left and, at that point, jumped back into the exhibit.”

A "Code E", for escape, had been radioed to all zoo employees, who quickly put into place the procedures they practice four times a year. An animal handling team responded with capture gear, tranquilizer guns and rifles, but by that time the gorilla was back in its enclosure.

Two of the gorillas, Mike and Kimya, went into the indoor exhibit area on their own. The third gorilla, Chaka, was still in the outdoor part of the enclosure. The zoo had been locked down, with all visitors being put inside buildings or locked out of the zoo. After all three gorillas were safely locked in the "barn", the zoo was reopened. It had been locked down for about 45 minutes.

As for how the gorilla escaped in the first place, Krantz says handlers found a piece of bamboo growing on the outside of the exhibit, near the 10-foot-high concrete wall. The bamboo had drooped down far enough into the exhibit that the gorilla was able to grab it and climb the wall. There are gorilla footprints on the wall leading up, right beside the piece of bamboo hanging down.

Keepers inspect each exhibit every day, and a gorilla handler had inspected the exhibit between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., Krantz says. The bamboo was not there then. It was 9:25 a.m. when the gorilla escaped.

“We think that that piece of bamboo, from the time she walked the exhibit, over that 30 to 40 minute period of time, drooped, continued to droop. He grabbed it and he climbed out," Krantz says, blaming all the recent rain for the drooping bamboo.

He says employees will spend the next few days inspecting the entire zoo, looking for other plants growing outside of exhibits that could cause a problem like this one did. He says the gorillas will stay locked in their indoor exhibit for the next few days while the outdoor enclosure is thoroughly inspected.

This is only the second escape of a dangerous animal in Riverbanks' history. Just a few months after it opened in 1974, a polar bear got out of its enclosure. Krantz says that was human error.
The all-seeing Chli
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Old 30-01-2012

A new tree-level ropes course has opened at the zoo, and is this the next popular zoo trend (similar to giraffe feeding platforms and walk-through lorikeet aviaries)? Louisville and Riverbanks will each have the challenging activity, and Point Defiance opens a similar project this summer.

Zoo ropes attraction officially open - Business - TheState.com
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Old 17-07-2012

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is excited to announce another new addition—the recent birth of a koala joey.

Born last October to parents Jimmie and Lottie, the baby koala spent nearly seven months growing in its mother’s pouch before fully emerging and making its first public appearance at the Zoo.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is once again making history – welcoming a record 1,029,492 visitors during the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended on June 30.
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Old 12-12-2012

A giraffe calf recently made its debut.
Baby giraffe debuts at Riverbanks Zoo | CharlotteObserver.com
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Old 09-01-2013

The zoo has got a new Malayan tapir.

Riverbanks Zoo Welcomes "Snooty" New Resident | wltx.com
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Old 09-01-2013

Originally Posted by Milwaukee Man View Post
Anyone know where Daniella is from ?

Team Tapir223
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Old 27-03-2013

Then There Were Three…Little Pigs at Riverbanks

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