A female Bornean orangutan managed to get on top of the outdoor wall surrounding the ape exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo on Sunday afternoon.
The animal quickly re-entered the exhibit and did not have contact with zoo visitors. The zoo activated a Code Red and instructed visitors to stay indoors until the situation was resolved. The Code Red was lifted about a half-hour later.
There were no injuries to animals or people, said zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer.
The orangutan involved was a 7-year-old named Kalijon. She did not have to be tranquilized.
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The zoo’s $6 million orangutan exhibit opened last spring. The zoo invited human rock climbers to test the enclosure to make sure the orangutans, which are agile climbers, could not escape.
Sunday’s incident happened about 12:45 p.m. Zookeepers called all the orangutans into the holding building.
“The orangutans will not be in the outdoor exhibit until a determination is made as to how she was able to climb onto the wall,” the zoo said in a statement. They can, however, be viewed through windows in their holding building.
The Kansas City Zoo has seven orangutans in two groupings, including a baby born May 23.
Kalijon was born here in 2009 but was rejected by her mother. Humans bottle-fed the animal, whom the caretakers call Kali.
Zoos are always on alert to animal escapes. Kansas City Zoo officials are prepared to shoot to kill an animal, if necessary, to protect the public. The issue came to the fore this spring when officials at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a gorilla after a 3-year-old boy fell into its exhibit and the animal began dragging the child around.
A male orangutan escaped the old ape house at the Kansas City Zoo in 1998 and wandered the zoo before being tranquilized.
Eight chimpanzees escaped their exhibit here in 2004 when a tree fell against the perimeter of the enclosure. All the chimps returned to their holding area within an hour, and none came in contact with zoo visitors.
Two male gorillas got out of their unlocked interior cages and into the hallway of the holding building here in 2012. There were no injuries in that incident, which was blamed on keeper error.
Seven chimpanzees at the Kansas City Zoo also escaped briefly in 2014 when one of them leaned a branch against the wall. That incident also ended peacefully.