Michael Jackson's former elephant escaped from a zoo - but moonwalked back to his enclosure.

Ali the bull elephant packed up his trunk and exited Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens over the weekend after a gate was ''accidentally left open'', but fortunately the mammal wasn't harmed and didn't cause any damage during his 20-minute jaunt.

A Facebook post on the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens page read: ''What do you do when an elephant ends up in a yard he's not supposed to be in? You moonwalk him back to his proper enclosure!

At 12:20 today, Ali, our sweet-natured bull elephant who came to the Zoo in 1997 from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, went through a gate that was accidentally left open and ended up in a courtyard behind the giraffe and elephant barn. While guests were never in danger, safety protocols went into place and and Zoo staff immediately jumped into action to get the big guy back where he belonged. His keepers were able to quickly and safely walk Ali back into his enclosure with some food encouragement. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and all AZA accredited zoos practice for just such occasions so our dedicated team was prepared. All in all, Ali was out of his yard for 20 minutes. (sic)''

The zoo praised their staff for handling the situation ''so quickly''.

They added: ''Let's give a hand to the staff who were able to get him back into his yard so quickly and proceed to fill the comments with appropriate Michael Jackson song titles and gifs. (sic)''

Just weeks before Michael sadly passed away in June 2009 aged 50, he was said to be planning to ride an elephant on stage as part of his 'This Is It' London residency.

A source said in April 2009: ''He hopes to make it the most spectacular show ever. For the jungle section, he wants to ride out on an African elephant with panthers led on gold chains.

''Parrots and other birds will fly behind him. If it goes to plan it will look incredible.''

The 50-date run of gigs was due to get underway in July 2009 but never took place following the King of Pop's death.

A book about Michael and Dame Elizabeth Taylor's relationship, entitled 'Elizabeth and Michael: The Queen of Hollywood and the King of Pop - A Love Story', claims she once gifted him an elephant called Gypsy.

Michael's hit 1995 tune 'Earth Song' dealt with the subject of environment and animal welfare.