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Orangutan Escapes Netting at L.A. Zoo, Prompting Zookeepers to Shut Down the Red Ape Rainforest

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A new promo for the L.A. Zoo shows an adorable, bald-headed orangutan with the tagline: "Let's just be friends."

Perhaps the 6-year-old orangutan Berani was looking for a friend when she escaped from the mesh netting that stands between her and her adoring masses. Berani's great escape at around noon today meant that the entire Red Ape Rainforest had to be evacuated and shut down for the rest of the afternoon.

"She escaped through a hole the size of a cantaloupe and climbed through on top of habitat," zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs told LAist.

The veterinarians tranquilized Berani and took her in to be evaluated, and the zoo is working on repairing the net. The exhibit is expected to be open again tomorrow morning.

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This isn't the first time an orangutan has escaped the mesh in the exhibit. In 2008, a male orangutan got loose and walked around a service area at the zoo. But Jacobs said this time that no visitors at the zoo were in real danger, because the 6-year-old orangutan is still small and not an aggressive creature at all.

But Javier Rodriguez told LAist that he was worried that it took too long for attendants to take the situation seriously. He was there today checking out the exhibit with his 4-year-old boy when Berani got out. He said the first attendant brushed the visitors off, but a volunteer he spoke with called security and acted fast to make sure someone was responding.

"This was handled tremendously poorly, considering it took three of us warning a park employee before a volunteer picked up the phone to do something about it," Rodriguez said. He added: "That said, my boy was thrilled!"