Guests at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park were witness to an unintended interspecies exhibit that took place in the gorilla enclosure on Sunday.
One visitor shared a video with KUSI-TV showing the tense moments that followed after a large shepherd mix somehow ended up in the exhibit facing off with a gorilla at about 4 p.m.
While the dog didn’t appear to have any interest in rushing the huge gorilla, the gorilla appeared very interested in chasing off the intruder and threw handfuls of dirt at the dog before rushing it.
Later in the video, the dog passed close by the gorilla again and the gorilla started barreling after it as onlookers scream and yell for the dog to run.
“Run run run!” one woman can be heard shouting as the gorilla took off after the dog.
“A KUSI viewer was at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park today and sent this video of a dog that somehow got inside the gorilla exhibit,” KUSI personality Hunter Sowards wrote on Facebook.
“I’m told people tried distracting the gorillas to coax the dog out. Soon after this video was filmed, zoo staff began escorting people out of the area. We’ve reached out to zoo officials about how this ended.”
Eventually, zookeepers were able to call the two gorillas in the enclosure to a holding pen so that the San Diego Humane Society could capture the dog. The humane society arrived at about 6:30 p.m.
“Our three Humane Officers were able to move in and safely leash the shepherd and bring him back to San Diego Humane Society’s Escondido Campus for evaluation,” Humane Society spokeswoman Nina Thompson told KSWB-TV.
The dog was not injured and had no ID tag or microchip, but as a result of the escapade has been nicknamed “Mighty Joe Young” after the famous, fictional cinema ape.
“Zoo staff tell me multiple unattended dogs were found on the safari park property today,” Hunter Sowards’ post continued. “Only one ended up in the enclosure, but the dog was safely removed and not harmed.
“Certainly good news, but still a lot of questions as to *how* this happened.”
The San Diego Humane Society shared its own post regarding the rescue.
“This adventurous dog, nicknamed ‘Mighty Joe Young,’ is now receiving care at our Escondido Campus, and our staff shared that he while did not have a microchip or collar, he is in full health and extremely friendly,” the post from Monday states.
“We’re so grateful to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff for helping this lucky dog get to safety, and not fining him for sneaking into the park without a pass!”
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