Riverbanks Zoo: Gorilla used bamboo to escape - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Riverbanks Zoo: Gorilla used bamboo to escape

People waiting for the zoo to re-open after a gorilla escaped early Friday People waiting for the zoo to re-open after a gorilla escaped early Friday

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Officials with the Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens in Columbia say a gorilla climbed a piece of bamboo hanging over its enclosure to escape Friday morning.

Zoo Executive Director Satch Krantz says a piece of bamboo the width of a dime drooped into the gorilla's enclosure, and the animal was able to climb it and escape its cage.

Krantz tells WIS News 10 a young food service employee nearby heard the commotion caused by the escape, ran over and encountered the gorilla.

The gorilla knocked the employee down, at which point the man curled into a ball. Krantz says the gorilla then left him alone, and returned to its gated sleeping area after being out for about five minutes.

Krantz says the employee suffered only scrapes and bruises, and was treated and released from a hospital.

Dan Smith, a spokesman for Aramark, which runs the food services at Riverbanks, wouldn't give the employee's name or age.

The zoo was locked down for about 45 minutes, with visitors ushered to enclosed areas such as the Aquarium or koala exhibit, but reopened late Friday morning.

Copyright 2009 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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