London Zoo is returning to normal following the drama last night which saw a gorilla escape its pen .

Kumbuka, a male western lowland silverback, broke through his enclosure at around 5.30pm, sparking panic, with armed staff seen searching for the animal and visitors told to hide and keep indoors.

Thermal imaging equipment was used to track the great ape before armed staff managed to subdue him with tranquilliser darts at 7pm.

A western lowland silverback can rip a human apart

The episode has ignited the ethical debate around zoos and the risk of keeping dangerous wild animals in captivity.

It is now understood that Kumbuka is awake and doing well following the incident.

Here’s what we know about Kumbuka

  • He’s a seven-foot fully grown male, weighing around 400lb (29 stone) - made up of mainly muscle
  • Kumbuka was born in Belfast Zoo in 1997, but after being rejected by his mother Delilah was transferred to Germany, where he was hand-reared in Stuttgart Zoo. He was soon on the move to Paignton Zoo in Devon
  • Kumbuka, an 18-year-old western lowland gorilla, is the zoo’s star gorilla attraction, having arrived three years ago from Paignton Zoo
  • He is the father of Gernot, a young male who was born in November last year to Effie
  • Silverback Western Lowland gorillas like Kumbuka have immense power and are capable of killing humans, ripping them limb from limb
Video thumbnail, London Zoo cleaner describes gorilla panic
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'Tourists were inside the park when the gorilla got free'