'God help her': Dramatic video shows zookeepers escape silverback gorilla in Fort Worth


A video of two Texas zookeepers who unexpectedly found themselves enclosed in an exhibit with a gorilla has gone viral.

The video posted on TikTok Thursday shows the silverback gorilla named Elmo enter his display yard while two employees were still inside at the Fort Worth Zoo. The ape is seen following the shadow of one of the zookeepers.

Zoo visitors can be heard panicking and one of them prays for the employees’ safety. “Oh my gosh, God help her, God help her, God help her,” a woman says.

The employees move slowly, stay calm and wait for the right opportunity to safely exit.

The video of the incident, which happened on Oct. 20, 2023, had more than 25 million views by Friday evening.

“Thankfully, there was no physical contact between keepers and gorilla, and all staff and animals are safe,” zoo spokesperson Avery Elander said in a statement Friday.

USA TODAY has reached out to the TikTok account owner. It’s unclear why the video was only recently posted.

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Zoo says incident was due to ‘keeper error’

Mshindi, a silverback gorilla at the Detroit Zoological Society in Royal Oak, Michigan, checks out his surroundings on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.

Mshindi, a silverback gorilla at the Detroit Zoological Society in Royal Oak, Michigan, checks out his surroundings on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.

Elander said that zookeepers entered the yard unaware the gorilla was still in the habitat due to “keeper error.”

Every day, the zookeepers shift the gorilla troop into their indoor habitat so that keepers can place the animals’ lunch in their outdoor habitat,” Elander told USA TODAY. “The zookeepers work with and train these animals every day and thanks to their knowledge and expertise, they navigated the situation calmly and were able to exit the yard safely.”

Elmo is a 34-year-old silverback who has lived in the zoo for several years. In 2021, he became a father after the birth of Gus, according to an Instagram post.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fort Worth, Texas zookeepers narrowly escape silverback gorilla





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