12-year-old Kumar is “acting out like a teenager.”

Meghan Overdeep
January 24, 2018

The call of the wild is particularly hard to ignore for one South Carolina primate.

Since arriving at Greenville Zoo in November 2016, Kumar, a 12-year-old Sumatran orangutan, has escaped his enclosure three times, earning him a special nickname among the staff. "People like to call him Houdini," Jeff Bullock, Greenville Zoo's administrator, told ABC News.

Kumar’s most recent escape took place on Monday. According to zoo officials, the rebellious teen broke out of the exhibit he shares with his mate Lana and sat on top of its domed enclosure for a full 20 minutes.

He spotted "one piece of wire that wasn't crimped tight enough and he was able to pull that wide open," explained Bullock.

His first escape unfolded in a similar fashion. Kumar chewed on the aircraft cables that are used as wire to secure his habitat until one broke, allowing him to unlace the wires. And out he went!

The second time, Kumar made a romantic gesture to impress 32-year-old Lana.

"He got out he grabbed an extension cord and he went back inside and gave it to her," Bullock told ABC News. Lana, apparently, was not impressed.

"Anytime he's out she just sits in the exhibit and watches him," he added. "She is a much more sedate animal."

Posted by Greenville Zoo on Friday, April 14, 2017

Bullock described Kumar as "a smart fella" who is also "very strong and very patient."

He chalks the ape’s recent escapades to "acting out like a teenager."

Luckily the zoo has a secret weapon: peanut butter. Kumar can’t resist it. "When he squeezed back in yesterday he was getting treats inside by our staff," Bullock recalled of his most recent escape.

With Kumar returned to the safety of his den, the zoo called in a contractor to "double-tie" all the connections of orangutans’ domed enclosure.

"As far as I'm concerned he's not going to get out again," Kumar declared. "But I've said that before."