Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dixon the Gibbon Briefly Escapes From Zoo Habitat

An ape that escaped from the Nashville Zoo is back in his habitat after he briefly escaped on Sunday.

Zoo workers aren’t sure why Dixon the Gibbon tried to escape, but they know that the barriers that were built to keep him in his habitat couldn't hold him.

Gibbons hate water, but the ape is enamored with his female keeper. On Sunday, as she was leaving the habitat through a door, Dixon jumped off a railing, landed on her shoulders and then leaped into a wooded area.

"He went up into the trees and was swinging around into the trees up there," said Jim Bartoo of the Nashville Zoo.

Zoo leaders called a code red, animal on the loose and hurried visitors to safety since the ape has big claws and can bite.

For 45 minutes, Dixon kept his keepers on the run.

Finally they laid a plank over the moat to Gibbon Island and used food to coax him back across where he belonged.

Zoo keepers aren't sure when they'll let Dixon come back out to play.

"No, he's not a bad boy. He's just a very curious monkey," said Bartoo.

Dixon is in lockdown for the time being while zookeepers attempt to find out how to prevent another escape by one of their most recognizable faces.

Story here.

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