Zoos are a great place to see animals in person, but visitors at the San Diego Safari Park this weekend witnessed quite a scary encounter after a stray dog got into a gorilla enclosure.
The dog, a stray shepherd mix with no microchip, had wandered into the park on his own and somehow found himself in one of the most dangerous places. Witnesses told CBS 8 that they saw a gorilla spot the dog and chase it around the enclosure before zoo staff noticed.
“They just started chasing after him and that was pretty nerve wracking,” witness Robert Robles told the outlet.
Video shows the worried visitors trying to lure the dog away, and reacting in terror as the gorilla chases him around. But thankfully tragedy was soon averted.
Zoo staff jumped into action. According to a Facebook post from the San Diego Humane Society, they were able to call the gorillas to a separate area, allowing them to rescue the dog with the assistance of the San Diego Humane Society.
Samantha Clark of the Humane Society says she used a calm voice to gain the dog’s trust, saying he was understandably nervous and afraid.
“He was in a new environment with new smells,” Clark told CBS 8. “Obviously getting chased by a gorilla would make him nervous.”
And while no one can blame the gorilla, she says things could’ve gone very differently if they hadn’t acted fast.
“I would imagine the gorilla was probably more just trying to get the intruder out of their area, but I’m sure if he had put up a fight – he was probably ready to.”
But thankfully, this dog survived his scary encounter, and is now in good hands. Since he wasn’t microchipped, he is now on stray hold in case an owner comes forward.
If not, he will be put up for adoption, and certainly find a new home soon. According to CBS 8, several people have already expressed interest in taking him home, including a zoo employee. And unless any of them have pet gorillas at home, this dog will be safe and sound for now on.
According to the zoo’s Facebook post, the dog has been named “Mighty Joe Young,” after the gorilla movie. “He is in full health and extremely friendly,” they wrote.
“We’re so grateful to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff for helping this lucky dog get to safety, and not fining him for sneaking into the park without a pass!”
This was definitely a scary ordeal for all involved, but we’re glad that “Mighty Joe Young” made it out okay and is now in great hands!
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