Orangutan Escapes At Busch Gardens (Video)

| by Michael Allen

An orangutan escaped from its enclosure at a Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa Bay, Florida, on July 1 (video below).

A portion of the theme park was shut down and visitors were evacuated as the 18-year-old animal took to the trees. Part of Luna Bella's escape was caught on cellphone cameras.

"If anything, I was kind of excited because I was like, 'oh cool, an orangutan out of its habitat,'" Guillermo Ramos, who filmed some of the escape, told WTSP.

"There's never a dull moment here in Florida," Ramos added.

Luna Bella, who also escaped in 2008 after scaling a 12-foot high window, was tranquilized and put back in her enclosure.

Busch Gardens released a statement following the incident, according to the Tampa Bay Times:

This afternoon, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay moved guests safely out of the Stanleyville area of the park when a female orangutan was outside of her habitat. The animal care team responded immediately and the animal is back safely and securely in its habitat without incident. The safety of our guests, employees and animals is our No. 1 priority.

Jason Mayhew, who runs, told said: "[Park workers] were stalling and stalling. Finally, someone said due to safety concerns, they had to clear the entire theater. People looked a little panicky, but everyone kept their composure."

Jordan Beauchamp, another park visitor, told the newspaper:

We were sitting down, and all the sudden they just rolled down the big door and locked us in. A bunch of people were asking the lady who worked there and she said it was an orangutan.

Then they opened the doors, and a few workers came down the aisles screaming, "Everybody out, everybody out!" They seemed a little freaked. People were pointing us which way to go, and they wouldn't let anyone go anywhere else.

Another orangutan resident at the park, 10-year-old Madju, escaped from his enclosure on June 16, but was captured and put back in his enclosure, WTSP reports.

Sources: WTSP, Tampa Bay Times / Photo Credit: ABC Action News via YouTube

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