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Culture

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

Berlin Zoo officials are scratching their heads over the brief escape of an 8-year-old gorilla earlier this week. After years of living behind a glass enclosure, Bokito decided to have a walk through the zoo himself.

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The ride was fun while it lasted, but Bokito the gorilla is now jailbait!

The Berlin Zoo had an unexpected visitor earlier this week when 8-year-old gorilla Bokito scaled the glass wall of his enclosure and joined horrified tourists for a stroll through the park. Witnesses said Bokito took a merry walk through the zoo, ignoring the wild cries of fleeing visitors as he tried to get a closer look at them.

"That guy is smart," deputy zoo chief Heiner Klös told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

After just a few minutes, two primate caretakers who had known Bokito since his childhood were able to stop the gorilla. The "parents" managed to coax their naughty child over to a nearby antelope enclosure.

But when Bokito figured what the future held in store for him -- house arrest -- he took a more defiant approach. The petulant simian ran to the nearest park bench and refused to budge. With a little bit of persuasive force and a light sedative dart, the zookeepers managed to get Bokito walking again, but the 130 kilo gorilla looked like a prisoner, flanked by two guards, his head hanging low, dejected, knowing he was about to get grounded.

Jailbait

The hairy Houdini has since been banned from the outdoor part of the zoo's gorilla enclosure until it can be made more secure, as zookeepers fear he may make a run for it again. His keepers are also baffled by how he got over the enclosure's three-meter (9.8 foot) glass wall. "The only thing that's certain is how intelligent Bokito is," Klös said.

Since Bokito was raised by humans from his birth, he did not act aggressively towards park visitors, but officials still plan to dramatically increase safety measures. Last week in Dallas, Texas, a similar gorilla bounded over its enclosure and attacked three zoo visitors, including an infant.