Zoo News

Zoo News

Dallas Zoo gorilla’s “Boo!” prank goes viral in video
Jun 26, 2013

A video getting heavy views on social media shows one of the Dallas Zoo’s male gorillas, B’Wenzi, reacting to a group of jeering children by throwing his hands up against the exhibit glass to surprise them.

It’s important to note that B’Wenzi’s actions aren’t aggressive; they’re actually playful. Much like people, gorillas will mirror actions they see, and it certainly seems that they enjoy a good prank now and then.

The Dallas Zoo’s Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center habitat is very large and the animals have ample opportunity to avoid the windows if they choose. Yet several of our gorillas will leave their grassy expanse to go to the observation windows, turn away and wait for guests to move closer. Then they’ll spin around and slap their hands on the glass. When the guests laugh and scream, the gorillas calmly stroll away. Our regular guests see this behavior often and recognize it as entertaining for the gorillas.

“This is normal, well-adjusted behavior for a teenager,” said Dr. Lynn Kramer, vice president of animal operations for the Dallas Zoo. “They do this for one reason, and that’s to get a reaction.”

The Dallas Zoo’s world-class animal staff is committed to the welfare of our charges and monitors their physical and emotional health at all times.

We also monitor guest interactions with animals via both staff and volunteers. However, as the largest zoo in Texas with more than 2,000 animals and nearly 1 million guest visits per year, we can’t be with each one at all times. We constantly try to educate guests that the best way to enjoy the Dallas Zoo is by showing respect for the animals and not heckling, banging on the glass or feeding them human food. We hope this video helps us teach the proper way to approach animals at any zoological park.