By Yaron Steinbuch
Dramatic video captured the moment a stray dog wandered into the gorilla enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park — as the crowd of visitors went ape over the ensuing monkey business.
Staff and guests “were shocked to see a dog inside of the gorilla enclosure, and called San Diego Humane Society for help,” the San Diego Humane Society said on Facebook about the scary incident Sunday.
“It’s believed that the stray dog wandered into the park on his own and managed to get inside the habitat before being spotted,” the organization said.
“Thankfully, Zoo staff were able to move the gorillas into a separate area while three of our Humane Officers leashed the dog and brought him to safety!” it said, adding that the male shepherd has been nicknamed “Mighty Joe Young.”
Park visitor Desteniey Pickett told CBS 8 that her family noticed the pooch running around in a panic as the beast began to chase it around the enclosure.
She said some guests called for help while others yelled one gorilla’s name in efforts to distract it from the canine interloper.
Another visitor, Robert Roles, captured the chaotic scene on video, which shows park staffers trying to bring the two gorillas under control.
“They just started chasing after him and that was pretty nerve-wracking,” he told CBS 8 about the animals. “A lot of employees showed up from the zoo and they literally kicked us out.”
The employees finally managed to coax the gorillas to another area of the enclosure and the San Diego Humane Society rescued the dog.
The group’s Samantha Clark told the news outlet that she used a calm, friendly voice with the dog, who “just wanted to go out.”
“He was in a new environment with new smells. Obviously getting chased by a gorilla would make him nervous,” she said. “I would imagine the gorilla was probably more just trying to get the intruder out of their area, but I’m sure if he had put up a fight — he was probably ready to.”
Humane Society rep Nina Thompson told the San Diego Tribune that they had received reports of three dogs running at large around the park. It was not known how the dog made his way inside the enclosure.
“I just met him, and he’s very sweet,” she said Monday about Mighty Joe Young, who had no tags or microchip.