Orangutans Escape Zoo Enclosure, Attempt To Meet Duke Of Westminster - Atlas Obscura
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Orangutans Escape Zoo Enclosure, Attempt To Meet Duke Of Westminster

It didn’t happen.

A Sumatran Orangutan shows off its heist skills in Bukit Lawang.

A Sumatran Orangutan shows off its heist skills in Bukit Lawang. (Image: Tbachner/Public Domain)

It seems England’s recent decisions have set an interspecies precedent. This morning, at Cheshire, England’s Chester Zoo, four Sumatran orangutans—Subis, Tuti, Siska, and Indah—made their own exit attempt. After escaping their enclosure, they wandered into the surrounding building, known as the Monsoon Forest, according to the Chester Chronicle.

Meanwhile, the Duke of Westminster, a Cheshire local, was visiting the zoo. The Duke was “obviously not involved in the incident,” a zoo spokesperson told the Chronicle. But a closer look at their natural histories suggests a suspicious amount of overlap.

Sumatran orangutans, scientific name Pongo abelii, are known for their creative tool use and relaxed swinging style. In the wild, members of this species are threatened by logging and palm oil harvesting, and their home range, which once stretched over all of Asia, now includes only Sumatra and Borneo.

The Duke of Westminster, presumably diplomatizing.

The Duke of Westminster, presumably diplomatizing. (Photo: estatesgazette/CC BY 2.0)

The Duke of Westminster, common name Gerald Grosvenor, is known for owning a lot of land and being extremely wealthy. In the wild, he is threatened by England’s recent secession from the European Union, which also shrunk his home range significantly.

Perhaps the orangutan coalition had hoped to diplomatically commiserate with the Duke. Instead, they were returned to their enclosure before they got the chance to do much of anything, Mike Jordan, the zoo’s collections director, told the Chronicle.

“Orangutans are extremely curious animals and were being rascals about returning,” he said, “but they’re all now back safe and sound.”

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