A gorilla in a zoo in New Orleans launched a piece of wood at a visitor, striking them in the head and knocking them to the ground.
34-year-old Sylvia Cressy, who is six months pregnant, said she and other visitors at the zoo attempted to flee before the primate launched the missile, but was hit in the back of the head while trying to cover her face.
Officials at Audubon zoo described the incident as a “freak accident”, and said they are investigating a female gorilla named Praline.
Ms Cressy told WWL TV, “Everybody started scattering, like running, so I tried to cover my face, then as I was turning around, the thing just hit my head. The stick, the wood put a lump on my head."
“When it hit me, I kind of blanked out,” Cressy said. “It really took the wind out of me and I fell on my belly. As I regained consciousness, I was just worried about my baby.”
The zoo explained that the piece of wood was a toy or “enrichment tool” full of honey, raisins and other treats for the three gorillas in the enclosure.
In a statement, the zoo said: “Our animals receive enrichment tools daily. Enrichment at AZA-accredited zoos across the country typically includes new food items, objects to manipulate, and activities designed to provide our animals with opportunities to express natural, species-appropriate behaviors, whether it be foraging, exploring, playing, or other activities.”
“This particular enrichment item was a small piece of wood with small holes for food and treats such as honey and raisins.”
The statement added: “Praline is safely in her habitat at the Zoo. The safety of our animals and guests are our primary concern. We are examining how this happened and will quickly address any concerns.”
The 10 winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016
The 10 winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016
1/10 The alley cat, Nayan Khanolkar, INDIA
Winner, Urban At night, in the Aarey Milk Colony in a suburb of Mumbai bordering Sanjay Gandhi National Park, leopards slip ghost-like through the maze of alleys, looking for food (especially stray dogs). The Warli people living in the area respect the big cats. Positioning his flashes to mimic the alley’s usual lighting and his camera so that a passing cat would not dominate the frame, he finally – after four months – got the shot he wanted. With a fleeting look of enquiry in the direction of the camera click, a leopard went about its business alongside people’s homes. Nayan hopes that those living in Mumbai’s new high-rise developments now impinging on the park will learn from the Warli how to co‐exist with the original inhabitants of the land.
2/10 Star player, Luis Javier Sandoval, MEXICO
Winner, Impressions As soon as Luis slipped into the water, the curious young California sea lions came over for a better look. He had arrived the night before at the island of Espíritu Santo in the Gulf of California, sleeping aboard his boat so that he would be ready to dive at sunrise. He had in mind a picture that needed warm light, a slow shutter speed and friendly subjects. One of the pups dived down, swimming gracefully with its strong fore-flippers (sea lions are also remarkably agile on land, since they can control each of their hind ‐flippers independently). It grabbed a starfish from the bottom and started throwing it to Luis. Angling his camera up towards the dawn light – just as the pup offered him the starfish and another youngster slipped by close to the rocks – he created his artistic impression of the sea lion’s playful nature.
3/10 The sand canvas, Rudi Sebastian, GERMANY
Winner, Details The pristine white sand of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park offers a blank canvas to the rain. In the dry season, sand from the coast is blown by powerful Atlantic winds as far as 50 kilometres (30 miles) inland, sculpting a vast expanse of crescent-shaped dunes up to 40 metres (130 feet) high. With the onset of the rains, the magic begins. An impermeable layer beneath the sand allows water to collect in the dune valleys, forming thousands of transient lagoons, some more than 90 metres (295 feet) long. Bacteria and algae tint the clear water in countless shades of green and blue, while streams carrying sediment from the distant rainforest make their mark with browns and blacks. Patterns appear as the water evaporates, leaving behind organic remains. Shooting almost vertically down from a small aircraft with the door removed, avoiding perspective or scale, he created his striking image. A few weeks later, the scene had evaporated.
4/10 Snapper party, Tony Wu, USA
Winner, Underwater For several days each month (in tandem with the full moon), thousands of two‐spot red snappers gather to spawn around Palau in the western Pacific Ocean. On this occasion, with perfect anticipation, he managed to capture a dynamic arc of spawning fish amid clouds of eggs in the oblique morning light. Still obsessed by the dynamics and magnitude of this natural wonder, he will be returning to Palau next April to witness once again the spectacular snapper party.
5/10 Eviction attempt, Ganesh H Shankar, INDIA
Winner, Birds These Indian rose-ringed parakeets were not happy. They had returned to their roosting and nesting hole high up in a tree in India’s Keoladeo National Park (also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) to find that a Bengal monitor lizard had taken up residence. They would then harass it when it tried to come out to bask. This went on for two days. But the action only lasted a couple of seconds at a time and was fast-moving. These Indian birds are highly adaptable, and escaped captive parakeets have founded populations in many countries. In Europe, where they are known as ring-necked parakeets, they are accused of competing for nest holes with some native species, such as nuthatches, and even bats, but in turn, other birds such as starlings are quite capable of evicting the parakeets from their nest holes.
6/10 The moon and the crow, Gideon Knight, UK
Winner, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 A crow in a tree in a park: a common enough scene. It was one that Gideon had seen many times near his home in London’s Valentines Park, which he visits regularly to take photographs. Positioning himself on a slope opposite, he tried to capture the perfect composition. But the crow kept moving along the branch and turning its head away, and so getting a silhouette of it with the moon in the frame meant Gideon had to keep moving, too. Then, just as the light was about to fade beyond the point that photography was possible, his wish came true, and an ordinary London scene turned into something magical.
7/10 Requiem for an owl, Mats Andersson, SWEDEN
Winner, Black and White Every day in early spring, Mats walked in the forest near his home in Bashult, southern Sweden, enjoying the company of a pair of Eurasian pygmy owls – until the night he found one of them lying dead on the forest floor. Pygmy owls, with their distinctive rounded heads and lack of ear tufts, are the smallest owls in Europe, barely 19 centimetres (7½ inches) long, though with large feet that enable them to carry prey almost as big as themselves. He found this owl dead, too, and suspects that it and its mate may have been killed by one of the larger owls in the forest, not for food but because, in the breeding season, it didn’t tolerate other birds of prey in its territory.
8/10 The pangolin pit, Paul Hilton, UK/AUSTRALIA
Winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single image Nothing prepared Paul for what he saw: some 4,000 defrosting pangolins (5 tons) from one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. These Asian victims, mostly Sunda pangolins, were part of a huge seizure – a joint operation between Indonesia’s police and the World Conservation Society – found hidden in a shipping container behind a façade of frozen fish, ready for export from the major port of Belawan in Sumatra. The dead pangolins were driven to a specially dug pit and then incinerated. The live ones were taken north and released in the rainforest. ‘Wildlife crime is big business,’ says Paul. ‘It will stop only when the demand stops.’
9/10 Wind composition, Valter Binotto, ITALY
Winner, Plants and Fungi With every gust of wind, showers of pollen were released, lit up by the winter sunshine. The hazel tree was near Valter’s home in northern Italy, and to create the dark background, he positioned himself to backlight the flowers. Hazel has both male and female flowers on the same tree, though the pollen must be transferred between trees for fertilization. And now recent research suggests that bees may also play a role. The catkins are an important source of pollen for early bees and have a bee‐friendly structure, while the red colour of the female flowers may entice insects to land on them. ‘The hardest part was capturing the female flowers motionless while the catkins were moving,’ explains Valter. ‘I searched for flowers on a short branch that was more stable.’ Using a long exposure to capture the pollen’s flight and a reflector to highlight the catkins, he took many pictures before the wind finally delivered the composition he had in mind.
10/10 Entwined lives, Tim Laman, USA
Winner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 A young male orangutan makes the 30-metre (100-foot) climb up the thickest root of the strangler fig that has entwined itself around a tree emerging high above the canopy. The backdrop is the rich rainforest of the Gunung Palung National Park, in West Kalimantan, one of the few protected orangutan strongholds in Indonesian Borneo. He had to do three days of climbing up and down himself, by rope, to place in position several GoPro cameras that he could trigger remotely to give him a chance of not only a wide‐ angle view of the forest below but also a view of the orangutan’s face from above. This shot was the one he had long visualized, looking down on the orangutan within its forest home.
Ms Cressy spent six hours in two different hospitals, CBS news reports, and said she was not happy with the level of medical attention she was given at the zoo.
According to the zoo, Ms Cressy was offered an ambulance to take her to hospital, which she declined.Reuse content