Orangutan briefly escapes enclosure at Greenville Zoo

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Kumar, an 11-year-old male orangutan, was transferred to the Greenville Zoo in November. Photo provided.

Greenville Zoo officials say an orangutan was able to briefly escape its enclosure on Sunday morning.

Kumar, an 11-year-old male orangutan who came to Greenville in November from the Oregon Zoo, was able to break one of the wires that held the enclosure’s netting together and climbed out through the hole around 11:30 a.m., according to Greenville Zoo Administrator Jeff Bullock.

The orangutan sat on top of the roof holding area for about 10 minutes before returning to its enclosure through the hole. Lana, the zoo’s 31-year-old female orangutan, did not try to escape, according to Bullock.

Staff members used water hoses and fire extinguishers to get the orangutans to retreat into the den area so that crew members could make a temporary repair to the enclosure’s netting, according to Bullock.

Bullock said the orangutan never wandered away into the park area after escaping and that the zoo was placed on lockdown for about 30 minutes. The zoo’s visitors were moved inside the gift shop and various other safe areas during the escape. No animals, crew members, or visitors were harmed during the brief escape.

The zoo’s orangutan exhibit will remain closed until contractors check for other weak spots in the enclosure and make permanent repairs, according to Bullock.

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