Audubon Zoo closed Saturday after jaguar escapes habitat and kills 6 animals

15 July, 2018, 05:18 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Jaguar escapes New Orleans zoo enclosure, killing 4 alpacas, an emu and a fox

The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is closed after a jaguar escaped its exhibit Saturday morning and attacked and killed six other animals, according to zoo officials. Zoo officials said there were no human injuries, but four alpaca, one emu and one fox in nearby habitats were attacked and killed.

The news release from the Audubon Zoo called Saturday a "difficult day in the Audubon family" and said that the deaths of the animals were a "tragic loss". During a press conference today, when asked if the jaguar ate the animals, a spokesman for the zoo says there was no consumption. Today is a hard day for the Audubon family. One additional alpaca and two foxes were also injured in the incident, but survived and are being cared for by veterinarians, according to WDSU-TV.

"One of our staff saw our 3-year-old male jaguar Valerio, was outside of his enclosure, and the zoo was closed at that time", said Dr. Kyle Burks, Vice President and Managing Director of Audubon Zoo.

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By 8:15 a.m., the big cat was sedated and safely placed back in its habitat.

Officials said there are protocols in place if an escape happened during hours where the zoo would have been open, and employees run drills multiple times a year to prepare for that situation. It was not immediately clear how the animal escaped.

"The safety of our guests and our staff and our animals are our No. 1 priority", Burks said. In 2001, a cub named Mulac escaped for about 10 minutes before he was brought down with a tranquilliser dart.

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