Wild viral video shows zookeepers trying to hide from silverback gorilla at Fort Worth zoo

Throughout the video, you can hear the fear from zoo visitors as they make calls for help and even pray.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A video showing the tense moments at the Fort Worth zoo of Elmo, the zoo’s 34-year-old silverback gorilla, barreling towards zookeepers has gone viral on TikTok with more than 1.5 million views. 

It was posted by ex-zoo security officer Ben White.

“So it was taken on October 20th,” White said. “I was the first responding officer.”

White’s last day working at the zoo was last month, he posted the video on March 7.  

“I was actually just going through my camera roll and saw that I had it,” he said. “There was no ulterior motive, I just posted it because I thought it was cool.”

The video is about 2.5 minutes long.

“In it, you’ll see the first keeper throwing a bucket and then running inside. She’ll keep the door open for a little bit, kind of cracks, so you’ll also see her on our radio, radioing US, radioing other keepers,” White said.

Things calm for a bit, then escalate again.

“You see Elmo run around and you see the second zookeeper. She tries to distract him, hides behind a tree, plays like a really fun game of hide and seek,” White said. “Then runs inside after throwing in the bucket and then at the end of the video you see the gorilla actually with the bucket, like, hey, you forgot the bucket.”

Throughout you can hear the fear from those visiting the zoo as they make calls for help and even pray. Ultimately, and fortunately, no one was hurt.

“We made sure that the animal was secured and then the keepers were OK,” White said.

The zoo sent this statement about what went wrong that day:

On Oct. 20, 2023, an incident led to two of our zookeepers sharing space with our 34-year-old silverback gorilla. Thankfully, there was no physical contact between keepers and gorilla; and all staff and animals are safe. Every day, the zookeepers shift the gorilla troop into their indoor habitat so that keepers can place the animals’ lunch in their outdoor habitat. Due to keeper error, staff entered the yard unaware that the silverback was still in its habitat. The zookeepers work with and train these animals every day and thanks to their knowledge and expertise, they navigated the situation calmly and were able to exit the yard safely. Understandably, the sharing of this video has been emotional for all keepers involved.”

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