Zoo exhibit closed after gibbon escapes

Published On: Aug 17 2012 05:12:00 PM HST

Honolulu Zoo officials closed one of its exhibits on Friday after one of its animals escaped by jumping over a wall.

Zoo keepers say they have never seen one of their siamang gibbons make this kind of a leap to escape its exhibit.

It happened Thursday afternoon, while the zoo was open.

Groundskeepers were doing regular maintenance work when the male gibbon showed some interest in what was happening.  It then leaped over a wall.

Zoo workers sent out a code red, alerting staff of an escaped animal.

"With the CO2 containers when they spray the animals it gives off a sound and a cloud of smoke, which isn't harmful, but it startles the animal.  That was how they were able to get back to the exhibit, climb the wall and go back to the island , " said Honolulu Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo.

The entire ordeal lasted less than 15 minutes.  Officials evacuated the immediate area, but the rest of the zoo remained open.

For now, the gibbons are in cages and the exhibit closed while they evaluate where to put the gibbons.  A zoo worker was reported scratched in the incident, but it was a minor injury.

The exhibit was built in the 1940s, according to Mollinedo.

The gibbon who escaped is named Elvis and the incident happened on the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.


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