SC zoo is put on lockdown as orangutan escapes – again. Where would he go this time?

Kumar the orangutan bolted again from a South Carolina zoo on Monday
Kumar the orangutan bolted again from a South Carolina zoo on Monday Greenville (S.C.) Zoo

Kumar the orangutan escaped again from a South Carolina zoo on Monday.

And once again he did something that might seem unusual for a creature whose relatives prefer living in trees in the wild: He returned.

Kumar, a male, escaped around 1:45 p.m. as contractors were repairing mesh panels in his enclosure, Zoo Administrator Jeff Bullock told CBS Spartanburg affiliate WSPA and other news outlets.

After crews left, Kumar found a weak spot in the panels, made a hole and squeezed out, Bullock told the station. Kumar stayed on top of the mesh of the exhibit for 10 to 15 minutes but went back inside when staff gathered, according to Bullock.

The zoo was put on lockdown during the escape. Visitors were taken to safe areas and the front gate was closed, the station reported.

“Kumar, who has a lot of time on his hands, figured out that the netting wasn’t properly secured,” Greenville City Manager John Castile told the Greenville News.

Orangutans are highly intelligent, according to National Geographic magazine. Close relatives of humans, the long-haired, orangish primates are found only in Sumatra and Borneo in the wild. Sumatra is a large Indonesian island. Borneo is the largest island in Asia, located in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago.

Kumar is one of the zoo’s signature attractions, according to the Greenville News.

In July, 12-year-old Kumar broke a wire in the netting and climbed on top of the exhibit for about 10 minutes before returning, the Greenville News and other media outlets reported at the time.

Kumar is one of the zoo’s two Sumatran orangutans. The other is Lana, a 32-year-old female, according to the zoo’s website.

He arrived at the zoo in November 2016, shortly after Lana did. Kumar was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, and later lived at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, according to the Greenville News.

Orangutans live until about 30 years old in the wild and 50 years in captivity, according to the Greenville Zoo’s website. Orangutans are considered one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak