Entries in Chimpanzee (4)


One Chimp Dead, One Tranquilized After Escaping Las Vegas Home

Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte (file photo)(LAS VEGAS) -- Two powerful, adult chimpanzees escaped a Las Vegas backyard and rampaged through a neighborhood on Thursday, leaping over backyard walls and pounding on cars before police killed one of the chimps and tranquilized the other.

The Las Vegas neighborhood came to a standstill Thursday morning when two chimps, each standing more than 5 feet tall and weighing more than 150 pounds, broke free from their backyard cage and began to run wild.

The female chimp, Calamity Jane, was subdued with two tranquilizers.  The male chimp, Buddy, was shot by a police officer after he charged the cop.  No other people were hurt during the ordeal.

Miguel Guiterrez, caretaker of the two chimps, was there when Buddy was killed and says he would have taken the bullet.

"I started screaming at Buddy, 'Get back, get back!  They're gonna shoot you.'  I wanted to go right with him," he said, adding, "He was like a of my best friends."

"It's crazy.  I don't know why they would shoot," David Plunkett, a friend of the chimpanzees' owners said to ABC News affiliate KTNV-TV.  "They didn't have to shoot the chimp.  It wasn't harming anybody.  It came out into the street, so they shot it."

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department told KTNV that the officer who shot Buddy said he believed the chimpanzee needed to be stopped before he crossed Ann Road into a neighborhood filled with a crowd gathered to see what was going on.

The chimps escaped shortly before 10 a.m. and were on the loose for about 30 minutes.  Another one of the chimps' caretakers blamed a loose hinge on the door of the cage.  The caretakers believe the two chimps repeatedly kicked the concrete wall until the door came loose.

Today, Calamity Jane is back in her cage, missing her partner, while the caretakers are missing a member of their family.

"I am tragically sad about Buddy.  He was my baby," said DeRosa.  "I loved him so much.  I love him more than anything, but I know he's in a better place."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chimp Attack Victim's Family 'Traumatized'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The family of Andrew Oberle, the Texas graduate student who was mauled by two chimpanzees, is said to be "traumatized" after seeing their son and meeting with doctors at the South African hospital where Oberle is in intensive care five days after the attack.

Oberle's parents, Mary Flint of St. Louis, Mo., and Andrew Oberle Sr., of Florida, arrived in South Africa Monday and spent the day meeting with doctors to discuss their son's treatment, officials said.  Oberle is in stable condition ,but remains sedated and in the intensive care unit.

"His parents are, well, they're quite traumatized," Robyn Baard, a spokeswoman for the Mediclinic hospital in Nelspruit said at a news conference today. "They have requested privacy."

Oberle, 26, has undergone two surgeries, including one six-hour procedure to clean out the wounds he sustained Thursday when he was attacked by two chimpanzees after stepping into a restricted area while leading a tour at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden near Johannesburg.

The University of Texas at San Antonio anthropology major was pulled under the restricted zone's fence by the chimps and then dragged nearly 100 feet into the public area where the two males continued to maul him.

Early reports were that Oberle's right upper arm was broken in the attack, while his lower right arm muscle and ligaments are torn and exposed to the bone. It was also reported that Oberle's left arm was mauled and he lost fingers on both hands.

One testicle was also reportedly ripped off and he suffered deep lacerations to both legs and lost several toes.

Oberle's family has asked the hospital to not release details on the extent of their son's injuries. The hospital spokeswoman said that Oberle is in a condition now that the full extent of his injuries cannot even be seen.

"I have absolutely no idea [what he looks like]," Baard told reporters today. "He is bandaged and in intensive care."

The Jane Goodall Institute says that the attack was a "territorial defense" by the chimps provoked by Oberle's entrance into the "no-go zone" and that the center is safe.

"We still maintain that we are a safe facility," Cussons told GMA Monday. "As far as our protocols go to ensure the safety of visitors coming here, it's still the status quo."

"I think Andy made a judgment here by entering the 'no-go zone' and getting too close to the fence," Cussons said. "They [the chimps] directed the violence towards Andrew, whom they feel was infringing on their territory."

Oberle's friends in Texas have started a fundraising appeal to pay for his medical care.

A "Help Andrew Oberle" page on Facebook has more than 400 likes and a fundraising page on the WePay website has collected more than $16,000 in donations as of this morning.

The hospital has declined to say whether Oberle will need to undergo reconstructive surgery for his injuries. He is likely to remain in Nelspruit until his condition is further stabilized. If he moves, it will be to a hospital in Johannesburg, 160 miles away, and not the United States, sources told ABC News.

In an interview prior to leaving for South Africa, Oberle's father said his son would likely return to his research work with chimpanzees if he is able.

"I'm sure if he's able to do it, that he is probably going to be right back there when he can," Andrew Oberle Sr. said. "That is what he wants to be doing."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Mauled by Chimp Seeks to Sue State

WABC News(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Lawyers for Charla Nash, the Connecticut women whose face and body were severely disfigured when she was attacked by a friend’s chimpanzee, have filed new documents they say prove the state was negligent in not removing the animal from a friend’s home years before the attack.

Nash, who received a face transplant but remains blind and is missing both her hands, first filed a claim against the state in 2009. The documents filed Wednesday are part of an ongoing case to receive permission from a claims commissioner to file a suit and bring the state to court.

“We have discovered facts that show a systemic institutional negligence ever since the state first learned of the chimp, Travis, after he first escaped in 2003,” Nash’s lawyer Charles Willinger told ABC News.

Willinger said that officials at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection discussed in emails whether to send police officers to remove the chimp from Sandra Herold’s home, but determined the animal was too dangerous for removal. Following those emails, he says officials simply dropped the ball and no further action was taken.

Nash is hoping to sue the state for $150 million, but a decision by the claims commission to allow the suit to proceed is still pending.

Connecticut’s attorney general says the state is not liable and Nash should sue Herold’s estate. Herold died in 2010.

Willinger said his client is “doing well” and living in a nursing home outside Boston.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gorilla Reported At Large in Alabama

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Authorities in Alabama are on the hunt for at least one gorilla after reports surfaced that the animal was spotted near a store in rural Newbern, Ala.

The Hale County Sheriff’s Office said the town’s volunteer fire department and police have been searching for the gorilla since the sighting was reported over the weekend, according to local affiliate ABC33/40.

Newbern is a town of around 220 people in Hale County, approximately 50 miles south of Tuscaloosa.

Authorities say they are not sure how many gorillas they are searching for.

One sighting was said to have been made by a child, while another person reported seeing what may have been a bear.  The sightings have not been confirmed by home video or surveillance video, 33/40 reports.

The closest zoo to Newbern is located nearly 100 miles away in Birmingham, Ala.  Officials at the Birmingham Zoo confirmed to ABC News on Monday that the zoo’s sole gorilla, 16-year-old Cenzoo, is present and accounted for.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio