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Gorillas and zoo members mourn baby gorilla crushed to death in freak accident

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Posted at 1:17 PM, Nov 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-14 13:23:19-05

SAN FRANCISCO, Cali. — The San Francisco Zoo has hired a renowned gorilla expert to investigate the accidental death of a 16-month-old gorilla.

The tragedy occurred as staff were going through their normal, nightly closing routine, when baby Kabibe (kah-bee-bay) unexpectedly darted under a closing hydraulic door, said spokeswoman Abbigail Tuller.

The investigator said the first thing he’s going to be looking into is the hydraulic door that accidentally crushed that baby gorilla.

In a statement, the zoo said Kabibe was initially removed from the enclosure and brought to the hospital.

Her body was later brought back to the gorilla enclosure so that, as is customary with a primate death, she could be shown to the group.

Kabibe had recently been introduced to the matriarch of the group, her 34-year-old grandmother Bawang (bah-wang) and the two had immediately bonded.

Bawang was allowed to touch and examine Kabibe. Animal staff reports that the gorilla family is “showing normal signs of grief and loss and each gorilla is dealing with the death in its own way, according to their individual personalities.”

“Some animal deaths are more difficult to process than others, and this tragedy has struck us all in the deepest way imaginable,” San Francisco Zoo executive director Tanya Peterson said in a statement.

Kabibe, whose name means “little lady” in Swahili, was born on July 17, 2013.

Read more on CBS San Francisco.