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Koga the Gorilla tranquilized after escaping, biting zookeeper at Buffalo Zoo


A Silverback male mountain Gorilla is seen sitting in the dense jungle canopy on the edge of Uganda's Bwindi National Park in January, 2007.

New York - The Associated Press reports that a 400-pound male silverback gorilla has been tranquilized at a zoo in the city of Buffalo after escaping from his cage and biting a zookeeper.

The 24-year-old known as Koga exited his cage and bit the woman on her hand and on her calf, the news agency said.

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On its website, the Buffalo Zoo said the incident occurred in “a secure non-public area behind the gorilla exhibit” but that visitors were escorted into “safe areas.”

“For safety, the keeper locked herself in one of the holding cages with Sidney, a 14-year-old gorilla, and her one-and-a-half-year-old baby, Amari, who both know the keeper well.”

“The Buffalo Zoo’s veterinary team immobilized Koga and placed him back into his holding area," the zoo said.

The zoo thanked zoo staff, local police and its SWAT team, which secured the area during the brief escape.

According to Reuters, the entire ordeal lasted 45 minutes.

"That was the scariest thing I've ever done in my career," SWAT team captain Mark Maraschiello was quoted as saying. "It's a 400 pound animal that's capable of who knows what. He could rip your arm out of its socket.”

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Reuters said Koga was dragged back to his habitat when the tranquilizer took effect 15 minutes after it was administered. A veterinarian blew a dart with a blowpipe through a porthole.