Viewers were left aghast after a television station’s live televised visit to a zoo attraction in Canada went wrong.
While filming was under way for Breakfast Television Toronto of a baboon riding a miniature horse, Bowmanville Zoo director Michael Hackenberger was caught swearing at the unfortunate primate.
When the baboon, Austin, jumped off the pony, Hackenberger is heard to say, “no, no, no, you **** ******, get up, get up, get up, come on.”
Social media has gone bananas over his slip, with calls from several people to boycott the Ontario zoo, including one who said its entertainment was “outdated and unacceptable”.
Hackenberger apologised for using “offensive language” in a moment of “exasperation”, in a statement on Friday night.
“Today in a moment of exasperation I used foul language while working with a baboon on a Breakfast TV segment.
“This was an inappropriate response by any measure and for this I am sincerely sorry.
“No one has ever called me a saint, or likely ever will. But I love my animals and continue to try to do my best to make a difference in the world.”
Austin was rescued by the zoo after he had been seized by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OPSCA) where he had been living in a tiny cage with no human contact, Hackenberger said.
“All of the baboons in the troop are rescue animals, who come to us damaged through either human ignorance or research protocols,” he said. “We work to give them full and complete lives.”
Breakfast Television said: “What happened this morning on-air was unacceptable and does not reflect our views and values at Breakfast Television Toronto, and as a result we will no longer be visiting the Bowmanville Zoo.”