Blijdorp not prosecuted for attack

2nd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

ROTTERDAM – The public prosecution department in Rotterdam will not press criminal charges against the Blijdorp Zoo because of the escape of gorilla Bokito in May. Justice officials announced this on Monday.

ROTTERDAM – The public prosecution department in Rotterdam will not press criminal charges against the Blijdorp Zoo because of the escape of gorilla Bokito in May. Justice officials announced this on Monday.

A Rotterdam family had filed against Blijdorp because it said the zoo did not do enough to prevent the escape of a dangerous animal.

An investigation by police and recommendations from experts indicate that Blijdorp has a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety (LNV) to keep animals and that it had satisfied all legal requirements. Moreover, it could not have been foreseen that a gorilla would enter the water or jump over the moat, justice officials said.

The public prosecution department also concluded that Bokito's escape and attack was partly caused by the behaviour of one or more visitors. Zoo workers and a volunteer warned these people about their behaviour before the attack.

"This confirms that Blijdorp satisfied all its legal requirements," a spokesperson for the zoo said.

"With or without a permit, just the fact that Bokito escaped is sufficient proof that not enough was done to keep this dangerous animal from causing harm," says Frank van Ardenne, the lawyer representing the Rotterdam family.

Visitors noticed in the weeks before the incident that Bokito was showing signs of frustration. Employees of the zoo also noticed this.

"Blijdorp apparently did not take adequate action in response to that," Van Ardenne says. The file does not show that the zoo took any measures to prevent escape.

The family is taking the matter to the appeal court in The Hague. It hopes that the public prosecution department in Rotterdam will decide to prosecute Blijdorp. The family is pursuing the case because it wants to prevent a repeat of the incident.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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