Some climbers take a selfie when they reach the top.
Kalijon took a poop.
The 7-year-old orangutan who got a taste of freedom Sunday when she managed to get atop the wall surrounding her exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo left a couple of small calling cards, as if to prove that she had been there.
Zoo officials are impressed but not amused.
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Workers on Tuesday morning were installing more electrified wire to the orangutan exhibit and preparing other steps to deter any future simian aspirations. For the time being, the zoo’s seven Bornean orangutans are confined to their indoor quarters, where they can be viewed through large windows.
“We’ve been in there looking and are in the process of modifying the exhibit,” said zoo director Randy Wisthoff.
Zookeepers think they know Kalijon’s magic trick. Apparently she stretched out her arms to grasp the seams — about 3 feet apart — of the glass panes that separate zoo visitors from the animals. She then pulled herself 14 feet to the top and made the short jump to the faux rock wall that girds the $6 million exhibit that opened last spring.
That’s all it took to trigger a Code Red, in which zoo officials herded visitors into buildings and prepared, if necessary, to shoot Kalijon with a tranquilizing dart.
“They’re curious; they want to see what else is going on,” Wisthoff said.
But the ape, possibly surprised by the commotion she caused, climbed back down into the exhibit.
Kalijon, whom caretakers call Kali, never actually left the exhibit and never came into contact with people. It is unlikely she would have caused anyone harm, anyway, but zoo staff had to take steps.
Kali is thought to be the only orangutan of Kansas City’s group who could have pulled off such a stunt. The older animals are too heavy.
But orangutans are notoriously clever and agile. Wisthoff, who came here from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., recalls the legend of a male orangutan there named Fu Manchu who was able to pick a lock with a wire. More than once.
Among Kansas City’s orangutans, Kali is known for her intelligence. She anticipates prompts from a computer program that the zoo has provided the apes for mental stimulation.
Before the zoo opened its new orangutan exhibit, officials invited human rock climbers to try to scale the walls. They couldn’t do it, and zookeepers were convinced orangutans could not, either. They were wrong.
Now they have fortified security. Your move, orangutans.