Update 6 June : La Opinion, the paper in which the story first appeared, is thrilled at the clicks through to its online version that have resulted from its story being quoted around the world in various national papers such as the Times and the Daily Mail in the UK.
There is still some confusion over the incident, which happened on Monday just after 11.30am, because it appears that the police, who are an integral part of the protocol for the training exercise, were not aware that they were being called to a simulacrum rather than a real event. If the vet was the victim of the same lack of information, this could explain the error, and the reported confusion of an employee in a gorilla suit, but Loro Parque itself says that it was pure accident and no-one was in a gorilla suit in the first place.
The confusion will be cleared up the courts, no doubt, where the incident, together with the narcotic gun, has been lodged by police as a work accident. One other issue that confuses me, however, is how this story has made it around the world, but hardly appears in the Canarian press. Apart from La Opinion, it has appeared in La Provincia, but I’m not aware of other papers carrying a report.
Original post 4 June: Confusion, and jokes, surround the shooting of a Loro Parque employee with a vet’s tranquilizer dart. The incident happened on Monday morning in the gorilla enclosure, and it’s important to note, the 35-year-old employee is fine, so the scope for humour is immense, mainly along the lines of “employee confused for a gorilla”, or with pictures of vets with thick glasses! Reports abound that police were called and various arrests made, but in the event, it seems that the shooting happened during a training exercise required periodically to ensure the park is equipped to deal with escaped animals, and that the police were procedurally involved from the outset.
It is still unclear whether the tranquilizer dart was fired accidentally, or whether it was genuinely intended to sedate a gorilla and accidentally hit the employee. What is clear, however, is that the dose was strong enough to knock out a 200 kilo gorilla, and the park employee was naturally unconscious in short order. To make matters worse, he had an allergic reaction to it and needed urgent treatment. He was given an antidote on site and then transferred to Hospital Universitario de Canarias (HUC) , where he is said to be in stable condition.