Gorillas escape into kitchen at Calgary Zoo for the second time this year

CALGARY – It’s a lesson in what can happen when you feed the animals.

For the second time in less than a year, some of the gorillas at the Calgary Zoo managed to escape and get into the kitchen attached to their enclosure.

Spokeswoman Trish Exton-Parder said staff are investigating what led to the Sunday afternoon breakout.

She couldn’t say for sure how many of the zoo’s six western lowland gorillas got into the kitchen, how long they were in there, or how staff managed to get them out.

“It’s an area where there is a full-on kitchen and the keepers do all their work prepping food for the day, getting their enrichment items ready, that kind of thing,” she said. “They’re not supposed to be in there.”

She said no staff members or animals were hurt and the public was never in danger.

The gorilla exhibit is in a part of the zoo currently closed to the public.

The area is being rebuilt after major flooding that hit southern Alberta earlier this year. Zoo staff were credited with risking their own lives to save many of the animals as water rushed into the exhibits.

It’s not the first time gorillas have gotten into the kitchen.

In March, a keeper at the Calgary Zoo was fired after leaving a door unlatched, allowing several gorillas to escape into the off-limits kitchen.

The keeper was roughed up by one of the animals, but wasn’t seriously hurt.

The same keeper had previously taken responsibility for leaving a knife inside the gorilla enclosure in 2009.

A photo of one of the primates holding the knife garnered international headlines, but a report by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums cleared the zoo of any wrongdoing.

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