Kabibe the 16-month-old baby gorilla dies in freak accident at San Francisco zoo

Gorillas are critically endangered despite attempts by conservationists

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The Independent US

A baby gorilla was killed when she ran under a closing hydraulic door in a freak accident at a zoo.

Kabibe, a lowland gorilla who was nearly 16 months old, was born underweight to parents Nneka and Oscar on 17 July last year in San Francisco Zoo, California, where the incident happened.

She was known as an underdog who thrived despite being rejected by her mother and her death, which occurred as keepers moved the endangered gorillas to their night quarters, has affected many who knew of her.

Kabibe, which means "little lady" in Swahili, was given 24-hour postnatal care until she was six months old by primate staff before being introduced to her gorilla family and she became inseparable from her grandmother Bawang.

“Some animal deaths are more difficult to process than others, and this tragedy has struck us all in the deepest way imaginable,” Tanya Peterson, the zoo’s executive director, told SFGate yesterday.

Visitors of the zoo paid tribute to Kabibe on social media and even those who had never visited were saddened by the news.

Zoo officials claim accidents like this happen rarely and are investigating how and why it managed to happen with promises to change policies and procedures if needed.

There have been two other fatalities involving animals and hydraulic doors in Washington DC and Canada, which has led to activists calling for more effective safety measures, SFGate reported.

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