Special Report forwarded to the Animal Attack Files by "Sean", a
professional animal worker in New Orleans:
|Zookeeper in intensive care after escaped-gorilla
Woman's condition fair; animal kept out of public view
By Aline McKenzie / The Dallas Morning News
Report of November 30, 1998
|A zookeeper remained in intensive care
Sunday, a day after being bitten by a gorilla that got loose inside a building
at the Dallas Zoo.
Jennifer McClurg, 25, was listed in fair condition with thigh and arm wounds. She underwent exploratory surgery Saturday to determine the extent of her injuries, said zoo spokeswoman Pam Deutsch.
Ms. McClurg was conscious and receiving visitors Sunday, Ms. Deutsch said.
Hercules, a 33-year-old, 340-pound silverback gorilla, was loose in a hallway about an hour Saturday morning, flinging dishes and gorging on food.
A "shift door" - used to help guide gorillas from room to room - had been left open, and zoo officials assume that figured in the escape, Ms. Deutsch said.
"He knew he wasn't supposed to be where he was," she said. "He was probably as afraid, in his way, as Jennifer was."
Ms. McClurg followed emergency procedures and crouched on the floor to protect herself and to show she had no aggressive intentions toward the gorilla, Ms. Deutsch said. A volunteer who was also in the building locked himself in an office and radioed for help.
Ms. McClurg managed to get out of the building, and Hercules was shot with a tranquilizer dart and returned to a pen.
Zoo officials had not yet talked to Ms. McClurg, but her scratches and bites indicate that Hercules may have used his teeth to drag her along the corridor, Ms. Deutsch said.
The gorilla was kept out of public view Sunday because he was groggy, probably because of his overeating rather than the drug, Ms. Deutsch said.
Many people called the zoo Sunday out of concern for Ms. McClurg and Hercules.
"They usually want to know how Jennifer is, and they want to know in the same breath how Hercules is," Ms. Deutsch said. "We have been pretty encouraged by the people we've talked to."
Zoo officials expected Hercules to be back on view for visitors Monday. As a mature male, he leads a troop of gorillas but has always been docile with humans, zoo officials say.
"This was quite a surprise," Ms. Deutsch said