Lawyer criticizes gorilla birthday bash

Feb. 17, 2009 at 7:29 PM
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BOSTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A lawyer for a victim hurt by a gorilla that escaped from Boston's Franklin Park Zoo six years ago objects to the zoo's birthday celebration for the primate.

The zoo celebrated the 16th birthday of Little Joe, a gorilla that injured two people when it escaped in 2003, Monday as part of its "Go Ape Week" festivities, WCVB-TV in Boston reported Tuesday.

Donald Gibson, who represented one of the gorilla's victims during a 2007 civil case against the zoo, accused officials of using the primate's infamy from the attacks as an advertising ploy.

"It's very frustrating to see this particular gorilla -- Little Joe -- used as a marketing tool given what happened," Gibson said.

However, zoo officials said celebrating the birthday of Little Joe, whose finger paint creations were displayed at the zoo during summer 2007, had nothing to do with the 2003 incident.

"I don't think it's really even a controversy, to be honest with you," said John Linehan, president and chief executive officer of the zoo. "I think that we've moved on."

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