June 9, 2009 / 3:01 PM / 11 years ago

Chimp bites off zoo director's finger

Pedro the Chimpanzee sits in his enclosure in Berlin Zoo, June 9, 2009. Berlin zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, who banned keepers from feeding animals by hand, had his index finger bitten off by chimpanzee Pedro on Monday. Blaszkiewitz is currently undergoing surgery to reattach his finger. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - The director of the Berlin Zoo made famous by the polar bear cub Knut has had his finger bitten off by a chimpanzee called Pedro.

Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, 51, was feeding Pedro walnuts as he showed a visitor round the zoo on Monday when the ape grabbed his hand and bit off his right index finger.

“Pedro is the boss of the group so he has to demonstrate a certain dominance in it to prove himself,” zoo spokesman Andre Schuele said on Tuesday. “Under normal circumstances, a chimp would never have the chance to reach a keeper or our director.”

Doctors sewed Blaszkiewitz’s finger back on but said it was not clear if the operation would be successful.

Schuele said the incident would have no repercussions for the 28-year-old Pedro.

Reporting by Jacob Comenetz; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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