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New Orleans, La. — An 11-year-old monkey's brief escapade left hundreds of Audubon Zoo visitors locked out of the zoo for close to an hour Friday.
"We haven't been here that long, so it's not so bad, yet. Is it because there's a monkey loose in there?" asked Bridget Haydel.
"Well, hopefully it's going to be worth it in a little while. The kids are all excited," said Matt Earl of Mississippi as he held his young daughter in a long line outside the entrance gates.
The male Colobus monkey is named Kivuli. Zoo officials said it is a Swahili name which means, "Ghost." They said the monkey was given the name because he was born on Halloween.
"This morning a young Colobus monkey named Kivuli escaped his enclosure and immediately our action plan went into effect, our keepers, our vet staff, our security and first responders locked the zoo down in order to get him back into his exhibit safely," said Chimene Grant, V.P. of marketing at the Audubon Nature Institute, which runs the zoo.
Ironically, many of the people waiting to get in said they came to the zoo to see primates.
When asked about his favorite exhibit, teenager Patrick Miller replied, "The monkeys."
Zoo officials said they were investigating what caused the young monkey to take off from his exhibit area.
"He was just in his exhibit enjoying the day, so we're not quite certain," Grant further stated.
Jason Gutierrez and his family were already inside the zoo when the incident happened.
"We got here when the zoo opened and went through the Asian animal exhibit and when we got out of that exhibit we went in kind of the main area with the elephant fountain, and security was already there and they were stopping people from going to any other area, we heard them mention we have a code, we have a code four," he said.
He and his family were ushered to a café inside the zoo.
In a little less than an hour the gates reopened and cheers erupted from the hundreds gathered outside the zoo.
"They finally caught him, so now we get to go in and enjoy our day at the zoo," said Natasha Clemons.
"It's been a crazy morning, we didn't expect this, but we're excited to get in and let the kids see the animals," stated Amy Barkerding.
No one was hurt during the escapade.
"He's a small monkey probably only about 33 pounds," said Grant.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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