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June 24, 2019

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Feds fine San Francisco Zoo over death of young gorilla

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Zoo has been fined $1,750 for negligence in the death of a 16-month-old gorilla that was crushed to death last year.

Animal rights groups derided the federal fine, saying Friday it was meager.

In documents detailing the fine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture chided the zoo for failing to handle the animals "as expeditiously and carefully as possible and in a manner that did not cause trauma."

The gorilla named Kabibe (kuh-BEE'-bay) died last Nov. 7 when she unexpectedly darted under an electric door as it closed, zoo officials said.

Animal rights advocates, including South Carolina-based International Primate Protection League, criticized the penalty.

"In my opinion, this is a ridiculously small penalty for causing the death of a young animal belonging to a highly endangered species," Shirley McGreal, the group's director, told the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the fine.

Zoo spokesman Danny Latham Jr. said the facility does not object to the USDA's findings and has paid the fine.

"The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens was deeply saddened at the sudden and tragic loss of Kabibe," he said in a statement. "Everyone here was heartbroken and she is sincerely missed."

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