San Diego Zoo’s bornean orangutan named Ken Allen was notorious in the early 1980s for his crafty escapes and his ability to outwit his keepers. A San Diego newspaper did a “newsmaker profile” on Ken Allen, the first nonhuman ever profiled in the paper. (Zoological Society of San Diego)
Elephant seals rest at their shoreline birthing grounds below Hearst Castle. Seals’ encounters with motorists on California‘s Highway 1 left officials scratching their heads over how to keep the highway safe while protecting the thousands of seals that return to the site each winter to breed. The sea lions would often escape out of the fencing meant to keep them from the road.
Reggie the alligator eluded capture for almost two years while living in a Los Angeles city park. His owners decided he had grown too large to keep as a pet, so they dropped him in in Lake Machado in 2005.
Reggie managed to evade and befuddle a constant parade of would-be gator wranglers before he was finally snared with a dog-catcher’s pole in May 2007 and taken to the L.A. Zoo. Reggie’s taste for freedom was strong, however, and in August 2007 he busted out of his enclosure for a couple of hours. After he was recaptured, his pen was modified to make it harder for the gator to escape.
Famous bovine Molly B. is photographed at Mickey’s Packing Plant in Great Falls, Mont., after escaping the slaughterhouse and leading authorities on a chase through Great Falls.
Five years after the cow dubbed the “Unsinkable Molly B” leapt a slaughterhouse gate and swam across the Missouri River in an escape that brought international acclaim, the heifer again eluded fate when it survived the closure of the animal sanctuary where she was meant to retire. (Associated Press / Great Falls Tribune, Rion Sanders)
Bubbles, a wandering hippo from Irvine’s Lion Country Safari (now closed), escaped from her enclosure and into a nearby lake on Feb. 20, 1978. She ventured out of her watery home-away-from-home long enough to be photographed by Times photographers. She was killed on March 10 after a ranger shot her with two tranquilizer darts during the more than two-week effort to recapture her. (Los Angeles Times)
In June 2010, Sabu the elephant escaped from a circus in Switzerland and wandered through Zurich’s banking and commercial district for an hour until a keeper was able to control the animal and bring it to safety. Sabu’s stroll through the city included a brief dip in Lake Zurich.
Punxsutawney Phil, America’s favorite season-predicting rodent, made three impressive escape attempts in 2009. Phil, who during the off season is housed in a man-made den in the Punxsutawney Library, would find a way into the library’s ceiling and travel about 50 feet before dropping into the library’s offices.