Blijdorp not prosecuted for Bokito escape

4th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam will not be prosecuted for the gorilla Bokito's escape from his habitat in 2007.

4 March 2008

THE HAGUE – Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam will not be prosecuted for the gorilla Bokito's escape from his habitat in 2007. The appeal court in The Hague announced this Tuesday.

A family that was at the zoo when the incident took place had sued the zoo for negligence.

The family claims the zoo did not do enough to prevent a dangerous animal from escaping. The Rotterdam residents hope to prevent such an incident from being repeated.

The public prosecution department decided last July not to prosecute the Blijdorp zoo in criminal court. The family opposed the decision and appealed to the appeal court in The Hague.

The appeal court supported the public prosecution department's decision and said that Blijdorp had already taken measures to prevent another gorilla escape.

The prosecution department found that it could not be foreseen that a gorilla would jump into the water or leap across the moat. Investigation by police and expert advice indicated that Blijdorp had been fully in compliance with all legal requirements in line with its permit from the Agriculture Department (LNV).

The Rotterdam public prosecutor says Bokito's escape was partly caused by the behaviour of certain visitors, who had received a warning from employees and a volunteer at the zoo. Visitors in the weeks before the incident say the gorilla seemed frustrated.

"Blijdorp apparently did not address that adequately," Frank van Ardenne, the family's lawyer, said. He also says it isn't clear what measures the zoo has taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

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