Gorilla Who Escaped London Zoo Enclosure Has Been Returned to His Unhappy Life in Captivity

Posted by 2 months ago | Permalink | Comments (43)

Last night, Kumbuka, a male silverback gorilla, sparked an emergency when he escaped from his enclosure at London Zoo.

Visitors to the zoo were told to seek safety in nearby buildings as staff armed with tranquiliser darts pursued the animal and eventually tranquilised him and returned him to his enclosure.

It’s a huge relief that, on this occasion, the incident ended without loss of life and London Zoo acted in a humane way. There are far too many stories about animals who’ve tried to escape from a life of stress and frustration in captivity and been instantly shot. And everyone still remembers the heart-breaking story of Harambe, the gorilla who was killed at Cincinnati Zoo after a child entered his enclosure.

But for Kumbuka, the miserable circumstances that probably prompted him to try and escape in the first place remain unchanged. He will almost certainly spend the rest of his days in confinement, being gawked at by a constant stream of visitors, and having every aspect of his life controlled by humans.

Just like humans, other animals long for freedom. Apparently this isn’t the first time that Kumbuka tried to get out. Earlier in the day, he was reportedly seen throwing himself against the window of his enclosure, and one zoo employee admitted, “He’s smashed the enclosure glass a couple of times.” Erratic, repetitive or self-destructive behaviour is common among animals in zoos, as a reaction to the boredom and frustration of being locked up.

London Zoo has serious questions to answer about how it was possible for an animal to escape from its supposedly state-of-the-art £5 million gorilla enclosure. But the biggest question is why are these complex, intelligent animals still being kept captive, when it’s obvious that doing so involves major safety risks, as well as causing misery to the animals themselves?

We need to stop paying to see unhappy animals in captivity and instead work on solutions to help them thrive in their natural environments. Please help – don’t ever visit a zoo.


  • maurice nelson commented on October 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Free them all i hate zoos

    • Suzy Thw commented on October 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Poor Kumbuka just wanted to escape his MISERY, this confinement of animals is in my opinion CRIMINAL. They belong in the wild, this makes me feel sad and angry. The world of humans indeed is a CRUEL one, I feel SHAME 🙁

    • Tracie commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      My question to Peta, I support every campaign I can to support animals to help to try and stop worldwide cruelty, but I just want to ask a question about Kumbuka. If silver backs are soon to be endangered as they tell us they are, I thought they were carrying out a breeding programme to help this and then release the young ones into the wild. Is not right?

    • Heather Thomson-Stewart commented on October 15, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      This poor unhappy darling should be sent to a Sanctuary where he will have freedom and not have people gawking and annoying him all the time.
      Surely the Zoo can see how unhappy he is.

  • DONNA CAPUTO commented on October 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I totally agree with you animals should not have to suffer being held captive. They deserve freedom and respect. I hate Zoo’s and places like them. I boycott them. This innocent intelligent gorilla should not be held captive period. This makes me very sad and angry. I feel so sorry for this innocent gorilla. They should have him sent back into the wild where it was taken from or have a sanctuary for them if they are not able to go back to the wild. It sickens me that human beings exploit these amazing intelligent animals for their own personal profit. They are not disposable or put here for anyone’s entertainment period. A lifetime in captivity / prison is not okay at all. Sad to see that people are so ignorant and uncaring in regards to wanting to capture have them in zoo’s ect.

    • Hazel Timbrell commented on October 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Surely the days of zoo”are now over, our television coverage of animals liveing in there wild inviroment is enough to satisfy our curiosity as the wildlife programes being shown now are second to none, perhaps the very endagered species could be protected with a breeding programe, but NO TO PAYING TO SEE THESE VERY SAD AND UNHAPPY ANIMALS. X

    • florence lange commented on October 15, 2016 at 3:08 am

      I cringe just thinking about what the poor animals in zoos are experiencing. Kumbuk the silverback male gorilla escaped his enclosure but was tranquilized and returned to it. Gorillas are sentient, thinking, intelligent animals. All animals have feelings and should not be cooped up in unnatural habitats that are small and have no companionship. He definitely should be brought back to where he was captured if that is viable, or to a sanctuary. Please act on his behalf to obtain freedom. Thank you.

  • Janet wedge commented on October 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    This is the very reason I have not visited a zoo since i was a little girl. the sight of a gorilla held capitive in a pit and to relieve his boredom and frustration was throwing poo at all the visitors, still have this imprinted on my mind. i wont visit another zoo for as long as I live!

    • Ivy commented on October 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Yes. The day of captured animals caged are over. Bless all the unhappy creatures. Yes thanks to nature programmes and wild life photography.there is no need for us to pay and observe these animals living such an unnatural life.

  • ALLWYN HATCH commented on October 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    All animals should be living in there own environment not trapped in a Zoo we are free to Rome!!! so why not animals.

    • Marsley commented on October 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Because we as humans keep killing them.

    • Gill Hines commented on October 16, 2016 at 1:47 am

      Cos we’ve taken all their land and without carefully managed captive breeding programmes such as the one at LONDON Zoo these animals will soon be extinct.
      Look at the Giant Panda, due to the captive breeding programme run by China the Panda is no longer endangered – a wonderful outcome. Captive bred animals are now being released into sanctuaries and wild places with monitoring.
      London Zoo has two baby gorillas both fathered by this young male who are part of a carefully managed global breeding programme to keep this species alive. Yes it would be great if all gorillas could live free but without captive breeding they will be extinct long before that will happen.

      • Ruby commented on October 17, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Zoos would have you believe that they are all that stand between many of the species they house and extinction, but animals are almost never released from UK zoos – and those who are rarely fare well since being reared in captivity leaves them ill-prepared to cope with life in the wild. You can read more about this issue here: http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-not-use-entertainment/zoos/

      • pat moore commented on October 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm

        Shame China does not care about its cats and dogs.torturing them, putting them into boiling water alive, skinning them alive.no animal protection laws, stealing peoples pets to kill and eat.Rotton stinking goverment officals that let this happen.I hate their this country.a thief even stole a blind mans guide dog.well this is the lowest of the low.their official government want skinning alive.

  • Judith Trunks commented on October 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Wild animals should never be kept caged in zoos they are eat to roam free with others of their kind it is terribly cruel no wonder they try to escape.

  • Basak commented on October 14, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    We are so primitive creatures, keeping other animals in prison for all their lives? Only for a couple of min. stupid observation? Ridiculous. Medieval style fun.
    We must end this, seriously… We are in 2016.

  • Morgaine Pendragon commented on October 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    It’s disgusting, I feel for every animal locked up like this, some people say it’s to preserve the species, I would rather the animals be free in their own habitats with laws that stop people from killing them, and if the species dies out then so it will be, rather free, than be kept in a cage, rather be dead than kept in a cage, the depression that these animals suffer
    Why can’t humans put themselves in the animals situation! Then they would think again, not nice to have your baby torn from your arms and taken miles away and then stuck in a small enclosure while people laugh and gawp at you

  • Wendy commented on October 14, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Let them go, it must be like being in prison

  • Woodlyn commented on October 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Zoo’s are terrible places. Animals aren’t ours to keep in captivity.

  • Sue jones commented on October 14, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Return this poor silver back make to the wild or if not at least to a safari park where he can roam freely

  • Maggie Townsend commented on October 14, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Unfortunately, there is so much wildlife conflict in the world, and with an ever growing human population, how can this problem be solved? In the wild they are poached and hunted for fun by dangerous human psychopaths. Where will they be safe from abuse and murder? Here in the UK we are one of the most nature depleted countries in the world! and no one seems to be overly concerned. One in seven species are endangered because of loss of habitat by human encroachment, bad farming manegment , desperately building roads, railways, extending airports to get to destinations 30 minuets faster, and after that another road, railway will need to be built to get there fifteen minutes faster. Sometimes life is about the journey . I despair.

  • Criss commented on October 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    so what do you plan to do with all of the animals that are already in captivity? if released to the wild they will surely die as they don’t know how to hunt, look for food or protect themselves. the only option then is to euthanize them as there will be no money coming in to support them.
    the main purpose of a zoo is to educate the public about the problems the animals have in their natural environment so they can raise money for things like conservation for these animals in the wild.
    you will probably find that the keepers working there do not particularly like zoos but believe they are necessary for the survival of millions of animals in the wild. you will also find that they really care for these animals and do the best they can to look after them.
    I’m not saying all zoos are great and there is nothing wrong with them but it just isn’t so black and white.

  • Linda Desmond commented on October 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I am surprised this happened at London Zoo. I do not visit zoos myself any more because I do not believe animals should be held captive.

    This poor gorilla should be released to a sanctuary and lead a life similar to his habitat.

    Shame on London Zoo. I shall certainly be putting the word around

  • Stuart Grant commented on October 14, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    The only reason these wonderful beasts are in zoo’s is because they are being slaughtered in there own country’s.
    Tragic but necessary.

  • Adj commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I’ve never visited this website before but I was so distressed to see the story about Kumbuka in the news today. I also agree that with amazing nature shows we have on TV of animals in their own habitat, that there is no need for zoos. They are cruel and I think this is especially true for primates. I really would like a petition to be set up at the Gov.uk website, to change the law so that primates (as a first step) are no longer held in captivity. Hopefully enough signatures will trigger a debate in parliament and a ban. Please I hope Peta can start this position as I believe they’ll be more effective than myself. Thanks for reading.

  • Leslie Stanick commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:22 am

    Zoos by definition are abusive to animals. Animals held in captivity are unable to live a normal life, exercise, perform their natural skills , forage for food, live with others of their kind, scamper up trees, traverse the savannah, swim 100 miles in the ocean every day with their pod, whatever their natural activities are. Zoo is worse than jail for incarcerated animals.

  • Stacy commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:24 am

    This is disgusting!!!! Let these poor animals live their lives!!!!

  • Gayle Edelman-Tolchin commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:49 am

    These animals should be in a safe sanctuary or in the wild- with their family unit

  • kat commented on October 15, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Just send him home

  • pamela miller commented on October 15, 2016 at 9:27 am

    It’s disgusting then if any human gets harmed its the animals fault all zoo’s must be closed down just like animals in circuses.

  • Elaine McGroarty commented on October 15, 2016 at 11:20 am

    So they create havoc and scaremongering when a wild animal, kept in captivity, reacts to be agitated and angry at being stared at and disturbed by idiotic people then they use tranquillisers to portray the animal as being ‘sad’ for trying to escape AND allow this to be shown all over the world!! HANG YOUR HEADS LOW…YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF !!

  • Grace commented on October 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    No more!!

  • Philippa Davies commented on October 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    They should find him a more suitable environment to live, without this captivity abuse which obviously causes mental health issues….cruel

  • Jane Wojcik commented on October 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    while I do not think that many zoos are the right place for animals, we do need some sort of sanctuary/breeding programmes to stop them dying out altogether. Unfortunately, mankind is responsible for the decimation of habitat and the near extinction of their numbers for our own gain. A balance needs to be reached.

  • malka Bernard commented on October 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    it’s time for zoos to be forced to recognise that their regimes and enclosures bring misery to animals and especially primates, large cats and elephants. it has to stop and all the activities such as parties etc must stop now!.

  • Katina commented on October 15, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    We are supposed to be the more advanced species? Think again…..

  • John commented on October 16, 2016 at 4:20 am

    All profits from the San Diego Zoo go towards conservation efforts, yet you want to shut down all zoos? How can you say that when many species wouldn’t even exist anymore without zoos?

  • Cynthia Miranda commented on October 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Stop animal abuse n let all the animals free to safer sanctuaries n shut down all zoos..

  • Gabrielle Mullan commented on October 17, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    The poor thing must have felt truly desperate to have escaped in such a dramatic manner. Conditions must be reviewed or return him home at least, to give him a chance to experience freedom in his native environment.

    Gabrielle Mullan

  • Sinead heritage commented on October 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Is there not a petition running to get him back into the wild???

  • Nicki Hill commented on October 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Glad he’s safe but sad he’s in prison

  • Dave and Rita Cross commented on October 28, 2016 at 1:41 am

    These horrific stories of animals treated as objects and often abused and killed is disgusting, nauseating, sickening and barbaric!
    Here we are in the 21st century and still behave as Neanderthals!! It looks like many people have no earthly idea what “compassion” means or what it is! So tragic and extremely embarrassing!

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