Karta's mate, 31-year-old Pusung, was known as the "gentle giant" of the Adelaide Zoo. He died last month of a respiratory infection, and since his death Karta has been understandably out of sorts. Keepers think that's why she used a stick to short-circuit an electric wire in the zoo's orangutan enclosure and escape, forcing the zoo to be evacuated Sunday.
"She climbed over those disabled hot wires, built up a mound of leaf litter and then used a branch to climb out of the exhibit and on to the surrounding wall of the exhibit," zoo spokesperson Emily Rice told the Australian.
The brilliant move wasn't the first time Karta has impressed those close to her with her intelligence. "We've had issues with Karta before, where she's tried to outsmart the keepers," curator Peter Whitehead said of the orangutan in an interview with the Guardian. "She's an ingenious animal." She's even shorted wires at the zoo in the past, but never in an escape attempt -- just to get food.
It seems, though, that Karta didn't quite know what to do once she'd made her escape.