Sylvia Cressy’s ordinary trip to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans turned life-threatening after one of the captive gorillas threw a piece of wood at her head.
The wood was thrown by a female gorilla named Praline.
“When it hit me, I kind of blanked out,” Cressy told TV station WWL. “It really took the wind out of me and I fell on my belly. As I regained consciousness, I was just worried about my baby.”
Cressy told the station she fell on her stomach and spent hours being treated at two hospitals. She is six months pregnant.
The zoo said in a statement that Cressy “was harmed unintentionally by an enrichment item” filled with treats for the gorilla. “Enrichment” items are designed to provide animals at the zoo with opportunities to “express natural, species-appropriate behaviors,” according to the zoo.
“As the safety of our guests and employees is our utmost concern, Audubon Zoo’s First Responders immediately attended to our guest for care and assistance,” the statement read. “We have been in contact with our guest and are assisting her with her medical care.”
However, Cressy claims that the zoo could have done more to help her following the accident.
The zoo said it did offer to call an ambulance, but Cressy’s family denies that’s the case, according to WWL.
“We are examining everything that happened,” Vice President of Marketing Chimene Grant told the station. “We’re speaking with guests, with staff, with volunteers and we will address any concerns.”
Cressy told the station she has a “lump” in the back of her neck. “I’m still kind of shaken up,” she told WWL.
The Audubon Zoo receives more than 800,000 visitors every year.
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