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Otto Zoo Gorilla

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Illustration of a gorilla with white text

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Otto, a gorilla that lived in the Lincoln Park Zoo, is famous for his 1982 escape from the zoo’s Gorilla Troop House. The escape was aided by the negligence of an employee who mistakenly locked the gorilla outside of his enclosure. Otto climbed an 11-foot wall leading outside but was quickly found, tranquilized, and recovered on the roof. The zookeepers reported that it appeared he was taking in the sights of the city.

Otto led an interesting life, with his time in Chicago beginning in the mid-1960’s as a gift from the government of Cameroon and was named after previous Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. In 1977, he became the star of the PBS documentary Otto: Zoo Gorilla to highlight the new Gorilla Troop Enclosure built by the zoo. In 1988 Otto passed away from a heart attack ending his lengthy run as King of the Gorilla Troop of Lincoln Park Zoo. Through their successful captivity breeding program were able to help Otto sire eleven offspring. 


Cox, T. (2017, July 27). Otto The Gorilla Escaped At Lincoln Park Zoo 35 Years Ago Today. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from

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