Zoo official: This was not first time Kumar the orangutan escape - FOX Carolina 21

Zoo official: This was not first time Kumar the orangutan escaped exhibit at Greenville Zoo

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Orangutan who escaped from enclosure. (Credit: Kevin C.) Orangutan who escaped from enclosure. (Credit: Kevin C.)
Greenville Zoo orangutan exhibit. (7/9/17 FOX Carolina) Greenville Zoo orangutan exhibit. (7/9/17 FOX Carolina)
Padlocks placed on net to secure it. (Credit: Kevin C.) Padlocks placed on net to secure it. (Credit: Kevin C.)
Greenville Zoo orangutan exhibit. (7/9/17 FOX Carolina) Greenville Zoo orangutan exhibit. (7/9/17 FOX Carolina)
Orangutan who escaped from enclosure. (Credit: Emilie S.) Orangutan who escaped from enclosure. (Credit: Emilie S.)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An orangutan escaped from its enclosure at the Greenville Zoo on Sunday, per zoo officials.

Jeff Bullock with the Greenville Zoo said the male orangutan was able to break one of the wires that held the enclosure netting together and slipped through the hole around 11:30 a.m. The orangutan then sat on top of the roof holding area, Bullock said.

A witness captured video of the orangutan during the very moment he escaped. Click to watch.

The zoo was then placed on lock down and all visitors were moved inside of the gift shop and various other safe areas.

Soon after, the orangutan returned to its enclosure through the hole and a curator brought in several padlocks to secure the netting where the hole was created. The orangutan never wandered away into the park area where visitors are.

Bullock says crew members then used water hoses and fire extinguishers to get the orangutans to retreat into the den area long enough for that crew member to secure the net using the padlocks. This is a tactic also used when animals attack, he said, but that was not an issue on Sunday. The orangutans were just excited, he said.

A dart gun was also present, but was not needed and not used.

The female orangutan did not try to escape.

Greenville Zoo crew members are trained to deal with animal escapes, Bullock said. However, it's something they work to avoid, especially with curious orangutans like Kumar, the one who escaped.

"He is, personality wise, just young and curious. Orangutans are just so smart it’s like a really smart teenager who’s always gotta look for anything they can get into," Bullock said. "Anytime we build anything in the exhibit we have to make sure its locked down tight, the bolts are tight, because they’re just so strong and so smart they take things apart.

Bullock said this isn't the first time an incident like this has happened at the zoo. Kumar escaped out of the same place only a short time ago.

"Kumar got out of the same place in the net and sat on top of the enclosure just like he did today," Bullock explained. "That's why they will be locked in the den until they can get someone out to fix it permanently.

Visitors were released from their safe areas within about 30 minutes, Bullock said.

No animals, no crew members and no visitors were harmed. Bullock said no one came into physical contact with the orangutan.

"I'm proud of the way the staff handled it," Bullock said. "They did their jobs."

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