Escaped gorilla recaptured at London Zoo

A gorilla has been recaptured after escaping from its enclosure at London Zoo.

Gorillas at London Zoo
Photo: Getty Images
Gorillas at London Zoo
Photo: Getty Images
Gorillas at London Zoo Photo: Getty Images

Armed police were called to the central London attraction and visitors were evacuated as keepers desperately searched for the loose animal.

Others were locked inside buildings at the zoo, one of London’s top tourist spots, which is in the grounds of Regent’s Park.

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Scotland Yard said the incident was “concluded” at around 6.45pm amid reports the gorilla had been shot with a tranquilliser dart and recaptured.

It is not yet clear how the primate got out.

Visitors to the gorilla attraction reported seeing the “lead male” apparently agitated and charging at the enclosure’s glass walls moments before the escape.

Jonny Briers, 22, told the Evening Standard: “We were at the gorilla enclosure and the gorilla charged at the glass. It didn’t break it, we saw it do it earlier in the day as well.

“And then we started to leave and we heard the siren go off. Then we saw zookeepers running and they told us to go inside. We went into the aquarium and they locked the doors.”

The £5 million Gorilla Kingdom was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007, then the largest investment at the zoo for 40 years.

The same year there were warnings that animals could escape unless security was improved.

A report said that although it had no concerns about animal enclosures, in the circumstances of a dangerous animal escaping it was “unlikely” the existing perimeter fence would be sufficient to contain dangerous animals.

It warned that if they escaped there would be nothing to stop them roaming free, and said marksmen with tranquiliser darts would have little time to react.

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The year before 12 squirrel monkeys managed to escape their enclosure.

Maria Camara, an office cleaner at the zoo, described the moment she heard the gorilla was loose.

She said: “They said to me not to go outside the building, the gorilla has escaped.

“I just keep looking out the windows seeing the people around, the police, the staff, run around with their radios.

“There was a lot (of people around) afterwards when everything was solved - all the staff came out with the visitors, bringing them to the main door.

“Everything is safe.”