Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Andrew Oberle: Texas Graduate Student Fights for His Life After Chimp Attack

Andrew Oberle, a 26-year-old Texas graduate student, went to South Africa hoping to find ways to help chimpanzees, but now he is fighting for his life after the animals he was trying to protect turned on him in a violent attack.

Oberle, who is studying anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was leading a tour at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden near Johannesburg Thursday when reports say he left the group and crossed one of two fences separating him from the animals.

When he neared the second fence, which was electrified, two chimpanzees reached underneath and pulled him by his feet into their enclosure.

Oberle was attacked by the animals and dragged half a mile before armed guards and staff members were able to enter the enclosure and rescue him.

"The chimps were still out there. ... He was curled up in a little ball," Lloyd Krause, an ambulance service manager who entered the enclosure to remove Oberle, told ABC News Friday.

Krausse said Oberle was mauled from head to toe before rescuers could reach him and the chimps.

"Those that were still in the enclosure had charged the fence a number of times on our arrival, so we did realize they were quite hostile at that point," he said.

Oberle, who suffered from severe bite wounds, underwent surgery at the Mediclinic hospital in Nelspruit, 180 miles from Johannesburg.

He is still in critical condition, but doctors say his vital signs have stabilized.

"The doctors are satisfied at the moment ... with the patient's condition," said Carmen Savva, the hospital manager overseeing Oberle's recovery in Nelspruit.

Continued: http://abcnews.go.com/International/chimp-attack-texas-graduate-student-andrew-oberle-fights/story?id=16683989#.T_A8lhdfEbA

Texas graduate student attacked by chimps at Goodall sanctuary in South Africa undergoes 6 hours of surgery
A U.S. graduate student who was attacked by two chimpanzees while leading a tour at a sanctuary for abused animals underwent six hours of surgery on Sunday at a hospital in South Africa.

Andrew Oberle, 26, suffered extensive soft-tissue injuries to his arms and legs. His wounds were cleaned and stitched under induced sedation, said officials at Mediclinic Nelspruit hospital in Nelspruit, a city east of Johannesburg. He remained in critical but stable condition.

Oberle, a University of Texas at San Antonio graduate student, was mauled Thursday by two large male chimpanzees who pulled him under a fence into their enclosure at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden near Nelspruit.

Oberle's sister, Elizabeth Sosa, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Oberle, who grew up in St. Louis, lost his ears, his left arm and all his toes in the attack.

Chimp Eden, a joint venture with the ape conservation institute founded by renowned U.S. primatologist Jane Goodall, is a sanctuary for ill-treated chimpanzees rescued from the illegal pet and bush meat trades and from the entertainment industry.

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