Obiter Dicta

Fangs a Lot

  • Print

Illustration by Juvenal Martinez

Many zoos feature exhibits that allow close-up views of the inhabitants. They’re designed to give visitors an experience that’s hard to forget. Dangling zoogoers over the enclosures of snarling carnivores would probably meet that criterion.

In July, 37 patrons of the Bronx Zoo were riding the gondola system that carries zoogoers throughout the park. A malfunction caused the entire apparatus to stop, stranding riders for about five hours 60 to 100 feet above the baffled beasts, some of which were reportedly none too happy about it.

Among those stuck were Damien Foster and his 7-months-pregnant fiancee, Nandi Taylor. They filed a lawsuit days after the incident, during which they were reportedly suspended above menacing baboons. The couple claim they were traumatized, and they are seeking up to $10 million.

“She is now a high-risk preg­nancy,” says the couple’s attorney, Adam L. Shapiro of Forest Hills, N.Y. “She began having contractions and had to contemplate giving birth in a cable car.”

Shapiro says the couple had to endure sweltering heat with no food or water and no communication with people on the ground. On top of that, he says, “a storm came with high winds and lightning, and they were stuck in a metal box.”

Shapiro adds that as a result of the incident, the couple fear their baby could be born premature with ongoing medical complications.

A representative of the Bronx Zoo declined to comment.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.