Orangutan's great escape causes zoo evacuation
Sunday 10 May 2009
A 137 pound orangutan with a history of mischief short-circuited an electric barrier, then built a makeshift ladder to escape from her enclosure, forcing Adelaide Zoo to be evacuated on one of its busiest days of the year.
Karta, a 27-year-old female, jammed a stick into wires connected to the barrier, then piled up shrubs, roots and debris to create a platform. Using it as a stepladder, she climbed up onto the concrete and glass wall surrounding her enclosure, where she was spotted by a member of the public who raised the alarm.
The zoo was cleared of Mother's Day crowds and vets stood by with tranquiliser guns, as a precaution. But, with freedom beckoning, Karta seemed to change her mind about the Great Escape, perching on the wall for about half an hour before climbing back into her enclosure.
Although she came within a few yards of visitors, one of the zoo's curators, Peter Whitehead, said the great ape had never displayed aggressive behaviour. "You're talking about an animal that's highly intelligent," he said. "We've had issues with her before in normal day- to-day operations where she tries to outsmart the keepers. She's an ingenious animal.
"So in this case she's decided to make a ladder and try to get out of her exhibit. I think when she actually got out and realised where she was, she's realised she shouldn't be there, so she's actually hung onto the wall and dropped back into the exhibit."
With Karta banished to her indoor night quarters for the rest of the day, zoo staff began a post-mortem into her Houdini-like exploits and said they would probably clear vegetation that could be used in a future escape attempt.
An 11-year-old boy, Ryan Johnston, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he saw Karta scale the wall. "It was amazing how he did it, because he actually got a branch, pulled it over the electric fence and then got over," he said.
Mr Whitehead admitted it had been a “traumatic day” for many of the Mothers’ Day visitors. But he told the Adelaide Advertiser: "She's always been a bit mischievous. She likes being a bit inquisitive. Their nature is they will work on things and she just enjoys building things, unfortunately on the day and in the wrong area. There's no intent from this animal to get out and harm anybody."
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: John Prescott condemns bombardment of Gaza as a 'war crime'
Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
Israel-Gaza conflict: President Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire
Lauren Goodger calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after sex tape leaks online
Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Urgently looking for Quali...