ST. LOUIS—A graduate student from St. Louis severely injured when attacked by chimps at a refuge in South Africa in June is now awake and communicating at the St. Louis hospital where he is being treated.
Saint Louis University chief of plastic surgery Dr. Bruce Kraemer said Thursday that Andrew Oberle Jr. has had three surgeries since arriving at the hospital less than two weeks ago.
Kraemer says Oberle is showing a strong spirit and could soon be moved to a rehab facility. He says Oberle is looking forward to therapy.
“His mother being here with the family is a key thing,” said Kraemer. “And in terms of a mileston, when you had a devastating injury so far away in a foreign land, life is going to be different for him. It’s just trying to put your normalcy back together.
Oberle was mauled by chimpanzees on June 28 while giving a tour at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Chimpanzee Eden SA. He was working there as a graduate student studying anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
He was leading a tour when two chimps attacked him, pulling him under a fence and dragging him about a half-mile before it was over.
Oberle, 26, lost both ears, his left arm and toes in the attack, according to relatives.