A family from Greenville, visiting the zoo gets the surprise of their lives when they come face to face with Mike, a gorilla. What they saw was a gorilla on the loose. The woman in the video describes a second woman with a young boy in a stroller coming face to face with the escaped gorilla. The gorilla looks into the stroller and growls. The woman pushing the stroller shakes the stroller and the gorilla takes off.

Place: Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbus

What: A gorilla named Mike, temporarily escaped from its cage and for approximately five minutes walked around amongst the public. The general public was asked to either go inside buildings on the zoo grounds or the leave the park.

Why: The zoo hasn’t given an explanation.

COLUMBIA — A 390-pound gorilla grabbed some low-hanging bamboo Friday to scale a wall at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, escaping his enclosure and tackling a worker before returning to his pen about five minutes later.

The gorilla ran into a pizza-stand employee who curled up and played dead to try to avoid further injuries, officials said. The man, who works for Aramark Corp., was taken to a hospital and released a short time later with cuts and bruises.

When: Friday, June 12, 2009, sometime before noon.

Zoo Statement of Incident: June 12, 2009, PR Department

[Columbia, SC] - This morning, at 9:25am, one of the gorillas broke containment at Riverbanks Zoo.  Consistent with our safety protocols, the 325 guests visiting at the time were immediately escorted either out of the Zoo or into secure indoor buildings because public health and safety are our top priority.  Within five minutes, the gorilla was contained safely back in its exhibit.  Within 45 minutes, the Zoo was back in operation with business as usual. By this afternoon there were more than 2,000 visitors enjoying the park.  The gorillas are fine; although during the incident, one food service employee at the Zoo experienced minor injuries.  This employee was treated and released from the hospital several hours later.

There is a video taped interview of the woman who attempted to warn zoo goers, but she was pretty much ignored.

The Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens has three gorillas.

A silverback gorilla can be seen at 1:01 in the following YouTube video of the animals at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens.

Chimp Attack

Gorillas aggression with each other at the Wichita, KS Zoo

More gorilla aggressive play

Have you ever wondered what a gorilla looks like close up?

A 300 # Silverback Male Gorilla in the Congo Wilds – National Geographic footage showing an older and a younger males dominating behavior and intimidating size.


Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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