Chimps savage man at sanctuary

2012-06-29 00:00

PARAMEDICS searched yesterday for a piece of a man’s ear while he had emergency operation after being savaged by two chimpanzees.

The attack took place at the rehabilitation centre Chimp Eden near Nelspruit.

Managing director Eugene Cussons said the man, a U.S, researcher he named only as Andrew, was showing a group of tourists around the facility when he climbed over the security fence around the chimp enclosure and went to stand near the inner fence.

A chimp grabbed Andrew’s foot and started to pull. Another chimp joined in and the two dragged Andrew under the fence. Then the chimps pulled him with them back under the damaged fence, out of the enclosure and began to manhandle and bite him, while Andrew tried in vain to escape.

The tourists were taken to safety.

When Cussons arrived on the scene in his vehicle, the chimps jumped on the bonnet and broke the windscreen.

He fired two shots in the air and he and other staff herded the chimps back to the enclosure using the vehicle. The chimps went back into the enclosure on their own, he said.

Both ER24 and Netcare 911 were called to the scene.

Andrew lost part of an ear and some fingers. He also suffered several broken bones and was bitten all over his body, said ER24 spokesperson Lloyd Krause. He could not say whether the missing piece of ear had been found.

Paramedics stabilised him in the ambulance on the way to the Nelspruit MediClinic, were he had surgery, said hospital spokesperson Robyn Baard.

Police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said no case had been opened.

Cussons said they were supporting Andrew, who had been at Chimp Eden for two weeks, and would be in touch with his family in the United States. Asked why Andrew was leading a tour, Cussons said: “We thought we would spoil the visitors with the American researchers.”

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