Another Aussie orangutan briefly escapes

July 13, 2009

An orangutan at Perth Zoo savoured the sweet taste of freedom for five fleeting minutes before voluntarily returning to her enclosure, WAToday reports.

The escape is remarkably similar to that of Karta, who defeated the electric fence at her Adelaide Zoo enclosure in May, only to give herself up minutes later.

Perth’s pongid Houdini is named Pulang, which, appropriately enough, means “come home” in Malay.

Once again, where humans design new enclosures for apes, hubris swiftly follows: WAToday reports Pulang’s new home was “state of the art”, and designed to “mimic the Sumatran jungle”. Its shortcomings were sufficiently obvious to the fifteen-year-old primate that she immediately loosened a rope from a fixing bolt and swung her way to freedom.

As is now traditional, a largely pointless “security review” has been ordered by zoo top brass. Chief executive Susan Hunt noted that “orangutans are [one] of the world’s most intelligent, inquisitive and agile creatures … capable of picking locks and undoing bolts and screws.