An orangutan who climbed out of her enclosure to rescue her five-year-old son Sungai after he lost his grip and fell into a garden bed, caused a mild panic and partial lockdown of Perth Zoo on Sunday.
Perth Zoo has dismantled part of its orangutan enclosure after two of the animals escaped yesterday.
Five-year-old male Sungai was hanging from recently installed overhead ropes when it fell over a barrier into a garden bed, prompting its mother Sekara to climb out of the enclosure to retrieve the younger primate.
The 26-year-old female moved onto the visitor boardwalk where startled onlookers captured the escape on film.
Perth Zoo’s curator of operations John Lemon said the mother returned to its enclosure within about 15 minutes.
“This was a one off occurrence where the youngster, being so boisterous, lost his grip and fell from the overhead ropes and landed safely in the garden bed,” Mr Lemon said.
“Mum then went to rescue him.
“Her number one priority was to rescue her son, make sure he was safe, then she just tried to return to her exhibit because that’s what she knows.”
The incident was the second orangutan escape at the zoo in the past two years.
In 2015, another primate used a shade sale to jump from another part of the exhibit.
Perth Zoo has launched an investigation into the latest incident.
Mr Lemon said the zoo had also taken immediate steps to make the enclosure more secure.
ZOO ESCAPE: Perth Zoo’s Orangutan, Sekara, forced parts of the zoo to evacuate today after she escaped her enclosure. Full details on 9NEWS. pic.twitter.com/epN8L3QE2q
— Nine News Perth (@9NewsPerth) May 28, 2017
“We’ve not only removed the overhead ropes that seemed to be the breach but we’ve also placed mum and son in a back area of the exhibit here,” Mr Lemon said.
“As well as that we are doing a full review and specialised staff will be monitoring the colony throughout the day.”
Mr Lemon also defended the enclosure, and said it met all necessary standards.
“Perth Zoo’s orangutan facility is world-class,” he said.
“It was designed by world-famous primatologists, conservationists [and] also famous architects and it is built to contain great apes.”
The escapees have been checked by zoo vets who said they were calm and in good health.
The pair will be kept away from the enclosure for the next few days until the zoo can ensure it is completely secure.