Zoo liable for injury by gorilla

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Blijdorp Zoo is liable for the damage caused when Bokito escaped his habitat last month.

12 June 2007

ROTTERDAM –Blijdorp Zoo is liable for the damage caused when the gorilla Bokito escaped his habitat on 18 May and attacked a woman. The zoo's insurance company has determined this, a spokesperson for the zoo said on Tuesday.

Immediately after escaping his habitat Bokito dragged a 57-year-old woman along and caused her serious injury.

The victim, Zoetermeer resident Yvonne de Horde, filed suit against the zoo. The zoo's acknowledgement of liability means that the woman will be eligible to receive compensation for damages.

How much that will be is still uncertain, says Rotterdam injury lawyer Maarten Tromp. That will depend partly on her recovery process and any permanent physical or emotional damage.

The woman had several broken bones, a shattered hand and more than 100 bites all over her body. She has also suffered emotionally.

Another woman whose hip was broken as a result of Bokito's escape can also expect compensation. It was announced earlier that the zoo would compensate others whose wallets and bags were lost in the chaos that ensued.

It is unclear what will happen regarding a claim that a Rotterdam family has filed against the Blijdorp Zoo. Unlike the other visitors who are filing for damages, this family wants a criminal investigation into the incident. They accuse the zoo of negligence.

The public prosecution department is still looking into whether a criminal investigation will be instated.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

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