Rhino escapes from enclosure at Nebraska zoo

A rhinoceros at a Nebraska zoo escaped from its enclosure and spent about 50 minutes eating grass in a behind-the-scenes area before being safely contained, officials said.

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said in a Facebook post that Jontu, an adult male Indian rhino, escaped from the main enclosure about 1 p.m. Tuesday and grazed on grass in a nearby area that’s used only for zoo employees.

Guests and zoo workers were ushered into a secure location while zookeepers used vehicles to barricade Jontu in the area where the animal was eating.

Dan Cassidy, vice president of animal management at the zoo, said in a video attached to the post that keepers used apples to lure the rhino back into the enclosure.

“He was out for about 50 minutes, but he went back in,” Cassidy said. “Nobody got hurt, and no animals got hurt, so everything went well.”

Zoo officials determined Jontu escaped through a gate that had not been properly locked. Cassidy said measures are being taken to prevent future incidents.

“It wasn’t locked quite right, and he just nosed the door open to let himself out,” Cassidy said. “We’re also going to put a secondary gate there.”

Normal zoo operations resumed once the rhino was secured, officials said.