Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 12:54 UK

Orangutan escapes pen at US zoo

Entrance to LA Zoo
Zoo officials say the animal was easily sedated and captured

A 29-year-old male orangutan named Bruno escaped from his enclosure at Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday evening after making a hole in the wire fencing.

About 3,000 visitors were shepherded towards the front exits while Bruno roamed free for about 20 minutes.

Zoo staff said Bruno never managed to enter the public areas and was quickly sedated by his keepers.

"He was calm and responded well to the staff," promotions co-ordinator Gina Dart said. "He was never aggressive."

Once out of his enclosure, instead of trying to flee, Bruno hid in an area behind his pen, where one of his keepers spotted him, the Los Angeles Times reported.

ABC News quoted zoo director John Lewis as saying that Bruno was easily sedated because, like the other five orangutans at the facility, had been trained to allow his keepers to administer medicine:

"Fortunately all of our great apes, the staff trained them to allow medical procedures, so the keeper actually put him through his behaviours, and he allowed her to hand inject him with anaesthetic and went right to sleep," Mr Lewis quoted as saying.

"They carried him to his bedroom, and it was all over in about 20 minutes," he added.

In December last year one man was killed and two were injured when a tiger escaped from its pen in San Francisco Zoo, an incident blamed on incorrect enclosure design.

Tiger attacks visitors at US zoo
26 Dec 07 |  Americas

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