Orangutan escapes at Busch Gardens

- Part of the Busch Gardens theme park was closed off after an orangutan escaped from its enclosure this afternoon.

"It's a juvenile orangutan," a witness told FOX 13.  "It climbed up out of the habitat and towards the guest area, just near the Zambia Smokehouse, which is in Stanleyville."

Social media posts from guests at the park said sections of the park were being evacuated.  The view from SkyFOX showed at least some rides still running, however.

By 6 p.m., social media posts from park guests indicated that park staff was telling them that the animal had been recaptured.

Florida Fish & Wildlife later confirmed that the orangutan had been returned to its enclosure. An FWC investigator remained on the scene.

Busch Gardens issued a statement after the incident: 

"This afternoon, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay moved guests safely out of the Stanleyville area of the park when a female orangutan was outside her habitat. The animal care team responded immediately and the animal is back safely and securely in the habitat without incident. The safety of our guests, employees and animals is our number one priority."

There was no word of any injuries, or how the animal got loose.

Stay with FOX 13 for any updates.

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