An unfortunate accident took the life of a 14-month-old gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo on Friday. The small western lowland gorilla, whose name was Kabibe, ran under a hydraulic door as it was closing.
The Sacramento Bee reported that San Francisco zoo workers were moving the gorillas from their exhibit to their nightly quarters, which was customary after the zoo had closed for the day. Kabibe got away from her keepers and was caught under the door and sustained injuries that resulted in her death.
Abbie Tuller, who is a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Zoo, said the mishap was rare because the zoo’s top priority is for the safety of its animals. Tuller said that members of the San Francisco Zoo’s staff had always closely watched Kabibe because she had developed eating problems as an infant.
According to ABC Channel 7 News, the primate staff at the San Francisco Zoo is taking the loss hard as they had provided around the clock care for Kabibe from the time she was born until she reached six months of age. Kabibe, whose name means “little lady” in Swahili, captured many hearts around the world and in San Francisco when she was born. She was one of the few lowland gorillas that are born in captivity around the world every year.
The young gorilla was gradually introduced to the other gorilla’s in the San Francisco exhibit when she was six months old. Kabibie quickly formed a bond with Bawang, her grandmother and the matriarch of the San Francisco Zoo’s gorillas.
The Executive Director and President of the zoo, Tanya Peterson, said there would be an investigation into the incident to see if procedures needed to be changed or if San Francisco zoo workers required more training to prevent another accident in the future. In a statement, she asked for and thanked San Francisco residents for their patience.
“Some animal deaths are more difficult to process than others, and this tragedy has struck us all in the deepest way imaginable. We thank the public in advance for their patience and kindness to the gorilla family and to all Zoo staff as we mourn the loss of this special animal.”
Kabibe’s tragic death in San Francisco is the second time an animal has died in a zoo within the past month. Last month, the Inquisitr reported that an endangered Tasmanian Devil died at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. In that incident, the cause of death was thought to have been deliberate, caused by blunt force trauma to the head.
For now, the gorilla habitat in the San Francisco Zoo is still open to the public.
[Image courtesy of The Chronicle]