(ST. LOUIS) — Andrew Oberle, the 26-year-old Texas graduate student who was attacked by chimpanzees at a South African reserve in June, is “awake, talking and spending time with his immediate family.”
“We are very grateful for the help and care from Saint Louis University Hospital,” Oberle’s uncle, Doc Coogan, said Thursday in a statement provided to ABC News.
Oberle, who went to South Africa hoping to find ways to help chimpanzees, had to undergo multiple surgeries after the animals he was trying to protect turned on him in a violent attack.
An anthropology student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Oberle was leading a tour at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden near Johannesburg 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.
Oberle returned to the United States from Johannesburg, where he had been recovering since the attack, just over a week ago.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Mariel Turner, Kacey Montoya & Nerissa Knight, KTLA
Samira Said, CNN
Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN