December 23, 1985 12:00 PM

Ken Allen, known as “Hairy Houdini” at the San Diego Zoo, is a 15-year-old orangutan who earned his nickname by escaping three times from his outdoor enclosure. In June a keeper discovered a casual Ken mingling with human visitors in the homo sapiens section of the zoo. Then, in July, he got loose again and hurled a huge rock at his neighbor Otis. Zoo officials had no idea how Ken was perpetrating the breakouts until primate keeper Fernando Covarrubias, dressed as a zoo visitor in Bermuda shorts, bright red shirt and sunglasses, witnessed Ken wading the moat and mounting the 10-foot stone wall. That led to a widened moat, plus a low-voltage wire on the wall around the simian’s home. But concerned that Ken Allen has been “looking restless” nervous zoo officials recently decided to give Ken a harem, in hopes that this would cure his wanderlust.

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