Zoo Worker Accidentally Shoots Tranquilizer Dart Into Employee [UPDATE]

UPDATE: June 9 - According to the Telegraph, the worker who was accidentally shot with a tranquilizer dart was not wearing a gorilla suit.

A Loro Parque representative said: "[The vet] did not mean to hit the zookeeper and the zookeeper was not pretending to be a gorilla. He was wearing his normal uniform and had just informed the vet that it was a practice drill. It was simply an accident."


If it looks like a gorilla and walks like a gorilla, it's a gorilla -- right?

Not always, as one zoo worker in the Canary Islands learned this week. According to local Spanish reports, a veterinarian at Tenerife's Loro Parque zoo mistakenly shot a tranquilizer dart into an employee dressed in a gorilla suit.

The disguised worker fell to the ground and was soon transported to a local hospital. He arrived in serious condition, reportedly from an allergic reaction to the dart, which contained a powerful sedative capable of putting down a gorilla.

La Opinión de Tenerife reports that the man had donned a gorilla suit and was running around the park in a drill to prepare employees for an actual animal escape. The tranquilizer-wielding veterinarian apparently did not know the exercise was in progress and shot the zoo worker in the leg from a distance.

Local police arrived at the zoo following reports that a gorilla was loose. The incident was reportedly deemed an accident.

It's not the first time Loro Parque has made headlines for safety-related incidents. Orca whales at the zoo's marine park have attacked trainers in the past, culminating in the death of 29-year-old trainer Alex Martinez in 2009. The Spanish zoo has also been the subject of multiple animal welfare violations.

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