Shirtless man climbs Santa Ana zoo monkey exhibit, screams ‘I am Tarzan!’

A 37-year-old man suspected of being high on drugs was arrested after allegedly trying to break into the monkey exhibit at the Santa Ana Zoo, police said Wednesday.


John William Rodenborn thought he was the “king of jungle” as he swung, shirtless and covered in mud, near a zoo’s monkey exhibit.

But Santa Ana police say “Tarzan” was likely flying high on drugs.

Rodenborn, 37, caused a stir Tuesday at the Santa Ana Zoo as he climbed and swung from trees while proclaiming, “I am Tarzan.”

The commotion began in the morning when Rodenborn scaled the walls of the zoo at Prentice Park and entered without paying, said Santa Ana police spokesman Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.


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Once inside, Rodenborn climbed on the bird exhibit and scaled a 20-foot tree screaming “that he was, in fact, Tarzan,” Bertagna said.

From there, Rodenborn, who wore only brown pants, scaled the monkey exhibit.

At one point, he took a break, resting behind tall bamboo trees, according to a 911 call about the incident.

Zoo staffers worked quickly to move visitors away from the man as they waited for police to arrive. He was arrested.

Bertagna said he was in possession of methamphetamine and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

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