Runaway Orangutan Escapes South Carolina Zoo — and Returns! — on His Own for the Second Time
The highly intelligent 12-year-old male primate squeezed out of a hole and sat on top of his exhibit at the Greenville Zoo for about 15 minutes, causing the park to go into lockdown mode
There was no Harold, no White Castle hamburgers, no getaway car, just an instinct for adventure … and the foresight to know when he’d had his fun and it was time to turn himself in.
On Monday, Jan. 22 at 1:45 p.m., Kumar the orangutan escaped from his enclosure at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina. And as the Charlotte Observer reported, this wasn’t the 12-year-old primate’s first time “running away” from the rodeo. Nor was it his first time returning to his zoo home — and of his own accord.
Zoo Administrator Jeff Bullock told CBS Spartanburg affiliate WSPA that contractors had been repairing mesh panels in Kumar’s enclosure earlier in the day, and the highly intelligent (read: sneaky!) primate noticed a weak spot, made a hole and squeezed his body out.
As it turns out, Kumar has attempted this wannabe Houdini routine before. Back in July, the escape artist broke a wire in the netting above his enclosure and snuck out for about 10 minutes before returning. This time, he sat on top of his enclosure looking at the crowd that had gathered below for about 10 to 15 minutes.
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As Greenville City Manager John Castile told the Greenville News, “Kumar, who has a lot of time on his hands, figured out that the netting wasn’t properly secured.”
The animal park went on lockdown during the animal’s escape, and all zoo visitors were led to safe zones until the incident had concluded.
While we can’t say we approve of Kumar’s hijinks, we admit we’re kind of impressed.
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Kumar currently shares his exhibit with another 32-year-old female orangutan named Lana. They are Sumatran orangutans, found only on the island of Sumatra, and their species is one of the smartest and most-endangered of all the primates.