[monkeywire] Fugitive ape stars in 'Evelyn Live'
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Sat Jan 10 01:26:48 EST 2004
Articles from January 9th 2004 Rocky Mountain News.
"Move over Emeril" link:
"Curious Evelyn" sidebar link:
Move over Emeril: Fugitive ape stars in 'Evelyn Live'
Gorilla kicks it up a notch as she enters Denver Zoo kitchen
By Jim Sheeler, Rocky Mountain News
January 9, 2004
Next to an empty gorilla exhibit at the Denver Zoo, the informational sign
explained it all:
"Smart as a great ape," the sign read. "Brains and brawn."
Within a few feet of the sign, a member of the supposedly superior
species,Homo sapiens, apparently left a door open inside the Great Apes
Building on Thursday, allowing a 250-pound female lowland gorilla named
Evelyn to sneak into the keeper's kitchen, where she "rummaged around" until
being tranquilized by zoo veterinarians.
"She was always in a safe building, completely behind the scenes, behind
multiple layers of security," said Ana Bowie, spokesperson for the Denver
Zoo. "She would have had to go through four secure doorways to access any
Still, the "code red" crackled over the walkie-talkies of all zoo employees
at 10:15 a.m., triggering an automatic lockdown that involved veterinarians
with tranquilizer guns and zoo employees whizzing around in golf carts,
ushering about 50 visitors into safe buildings.
"In the case of people in the Primate Panorama, we put them in the Emerald
Forest," Bowie said.
Evelyn has been at the Denver Zoo since April and is in town only
temporarily. Her permanent home is in Los Angeles, where an elaborate ape
exhibit is under construction - in part to keep Evelyn from adding to her
lengthy rap sheet.
Since her birth at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1976, she's escaped several times
- including a Steve McQueen-esque caper involving her using a vine to climb
out of her exhibit and wander the zoo grounds. During that spree, zookeepers
ended up having to tranquilize Evelyn, and she subsequently passed out in a
During Thursday's 45-minute escapade, she was observed "snooping around the
kitchen," Bowie said, possibly searching the various fruits and vegetables
stored there, and "at some point, she found some rubber hoses."
"She was partially hand-raised, so she's very comfortable in a situation
with humans around her," Bowie said. "And she's 27, so she's just a
laid-back, sweet gorilla - who's curious about stuff in the kitchen."
After being darted by a veterinarian, Evelyn was taken to the zoo hospital
for observation and then returned to her troop.
As for any punishment? That will be for the other species - the humans. "You
don't fix the gorilla, you fix the exhibit," Bowie said. "There certainly
won't be any repercussions for Evelyn."
Near the closed great apes exhibit, which is expected to reopen today,
3-year-old Emily Fairbairn wasn't so sure.
"He got out of his cage," she said as she learned that she couldn't see
Evelyn. "They put him in timeout."
Nearby hung another sign:
"Humans and other primates," it read. "Closer than you may think."
sheelerj at RockyMountainNews.com
Curious Evelyn's other escapes
January 9, 2004
Before her escapade on Thursday at the Denver Zoo, the 250-pound lowland
gorrilla escaped several other times from her permanent home at the Los
She jumped on one of her companion's backs to climb over a wall.
She used a vine to climb from a moat, and scaled a wall
After failing to fall for the lure of a box of bananas during one escape,
she was spooked by television helicopters and had to be tranquilized. She
passed out in a men's restroom .
During another escape, she swatted a bystander's bottom.
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