The Great Ape Escape

Visitors at a North Carolina zoo got quite a show when a gorilla used a fallen tree branch to climb the retaining wall and nearly escape. INSIDE EDITION has the story.

Families panicked as an ingenious gorilla tried to escape from her enclosure in a zoo.

"Hey we need to go!  Go go go!" one bystander screamed.

The gorilla was just inches from pulling off the great ape escape.  Her fingers even gripped the very top of the glass.

The drama started when the female gorilla, named Acacia, got hold of a branch that had blown into her enclosure during a storm.  Her first attempt to use the branch as a ladder almost paid off.

The gorilla wasn't quite strong enough to pull herself up, and dropped to the ground.

Families at the zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina, were spooked by the drama.

"That was really dangerous!" a young boy exclaimed.

But the gorilla's bid for freedom wasn't over yet.  She sat and pondered what to do next with the branch.

Then, even as a worried mom was even on the phone to 911, the gorilla propped the branch against the glass and gave it a second try.

This time the branch snapped and the gorilla fell back to the ground.  In the video, you can almost see her trying to figure out how to fix the broken branch.

The drama is the latest in a string of gorilla escapes.

In Boston, a gorilla actually made it to a bus stop after busting out of the zoo in 2003.  The escape triggered a wave of panic in the neighborhood before zookeepers used tranquilizer darts to recapture the primate.

In Dallas, crowds fled in terror after a gorilla escaped in 2004.  Sadly, this time the animal had to be shot dead.

Maybe Acacia was lucky she didn't make it over the top.