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Gorilla rampages through Dutch zoo

Four injured in cafeteria carnage

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A 400lb silverback male gorilla has injured four people after escaping from his compound at Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo, the Telegraph reports.

Bokito climbed the wall of his enclosure, crossed a moat, grabbed 57-year-old Petronella Yvonne de Horde and dragged her through a cafeteria, "sending chairs and tables flying as he went". Eyewitness Robert de Jonge recounted: "I saw the beast running through the park with a woman behind him, him grabbing her forearm. He bit her, or I think he bit her. His mouth was covered in blood."

The three other victims were slightly injured in the rush to escape the rampaging animal, which was quickly recaptured.

According to DutchNews, Bokito might have been provoked into action by kids seen throwing stones at him shortly before the attack. His victim may also have contributed to the incident - de Horde was a frequent visitor to the gorilla enclosure and, according to her daughter, "believed she had a 'special relationship' with Bokito".

One keeper suggested the gorilla "may not have found De Horde submissive enough when she sought eye contact with him". Her husband Gerrit de Horde confirmed: "I know Bokito targeted my wife. We were looking at him and as we walked away we heard a splash and there he was behind us."

Petronella Yvonne de Horde sustained a "broken wrist and lower arm, a crushed hand, and dozens of bites" in the attack. Her husband says her hand may never fully recover and added: "There will be a hefty damages claim. They knew he was an escape-risk. He'd done it before."

Eleven-year-old Bokito was hand-raised in Germany, but sent to Blijdorp in 2005 because "he was too used to humans and did not show the desired group behaviour".

His keeper Fred Rueb said his behaviour had altered in recent weeks "since another gorilla group with a dominant male had been moved to Shanghai". ®

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