Dallas zookeeper suspended after gorilla's escape

February 16, 2010 7:40:52 PM PST
Officials have suspended a zookeeper who left open a door that allowed a 180-pound gorilla to briefly escape her locked living quarters at the Dallas Zoo over the weekend. Dallas Zoo Executive Director Gregg Hudson said in a statement Tuesday that the zookeeper failed to verify the area was empty before stepping away to gather cleaning equipment for the enclosure.

Tufani, a 19-year-old gorilla, remained in the gorilla research center Saturday and never reached public areas of the zoo, which was closed at the time.

Tufani was tranquilized and returned to the living area within an hour.

In 2004, a 13-year-old gorilla named Jabari cleared a 14-foot wall and mauled three people before he was killed by police. After that, the zoo beefed up security measures at the exhibit.