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Genius Orangutan Makes a Break For It at Zoo

Orangutans are very smart. Kumar, an orangutan at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina, proved that Sunday when he escaped from his enclosure. Thankfully, zoo staff ensured that no animals or humans were hurt during the incident. 

The smarty pants primate was captured on video attempting to reenact a scene from Planet of the Apes. Kumar unfastened a wire that kept the netting sealed, then breaks through and spends a little time chilling on top of the enclosure. 

Kumar didn't attempt to go anywhere else in the zoo and returned to the enclosure on his own, according to Fox Carolina.

"He is, personality wise, just young and curious. Orangutans are just so smart it’s like a really smart teenager who’s always gotta look for anything they can get into," the zoo's Jeff Bullock told Fox Carolina. "Anytime we build anything in the exhibit we have to make sure its locked down tight, the bolts are tight, because they’re just so strong and so smart they take things apart."

Though it looks like the folks taking the video just stood around instead of going for help, Kenin Newman, one of the observers, commented on Facebook to clarify that people stayed to take video because someone had already left to inform Greenville Zoo staff.

All visitors at the zoo were moved to safe areas like the zoo gift shop for about half an hour while Kumar returned to the enclosure and zoo employees repaired the netting.

Unfortunately for zoo-goers who were penned up, the exhibit was temporarily shut down to ensure there were no more escape attempts on Sunday, depriving visitors a chance to see the intelligent and critically endangered animal. The zoo houses Sumatran orangutans, of which there are only a little more than 14,500 remaining in the wild. The zoo works with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme to save the species and help grow its population in the wild.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.