The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has safely returned Binga, a 17 year-old gorilla residing at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) also known as the Pretoria Zoo, after he had earlier escaped from his enclosure.

Appropriate emergency procedures were followed in ensuring that visitors, staff and Binga were all safe. Binga was returned within several minutes of his escape and no persons were in danger at any time. Binga will receive high quality veterinary care while recovering from the experience.

SANBI would like to assure members of the public that the NZG has a rapid response strategy and follows specific protocols for such eventualities. The NZG has highly qualified staff members trained to handle such incidents. The Zoo has signage explaining to visitors what to do in the event of an animal escape. We confirm that no life was in danger.

An investigation is currently underway to determine how Binga got out of his enclosure and corrective measures will be implemented thereafter.  SANBI wishes to take this opportunity to thank our trained emergency response team and veterinarians for their swift response and professionalism in handling this situation.

About Binga

Seventeen year-old Binga is a member of the bachelor group of male that forms part of the European Endangered Species Programme. He is in his midlife span as these gorillas normally reach the age of 35 to 40 if they are in the wild but can reach 50 years if in captivity.

Binga arrived at the NZG in 2010, and has been spending most of his time with Bonsenga the dominant male in the group. He is very reserved and shy.

For more information on SANBI’s gardens, please visit

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