Audubon Zoo closed after jaguar escapes exhibit, kills 6 other animals, officials say

NEW ORLEANS/USA Today — The Audubon Zoo is closed after a jaguar escaped its exhibit Saturday morning, attacking and killing six other animals.An adult male jaguar escaped its habitat at around 7:20 a.m., officials said.

The zoo was closed to the public at the time of the escape.

“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.

“Immediately he followed procedures, secured himself inside a building and alerted the rest of the team.”

Staff and security were able to sedate the jaguar by 8:15 a.m., but authorities said four alpaca, an emu, and a fox who were in nearby habitats did not survive.

“Additionally, we have three other animals that are being cared for right now, they’ve got the best professional care out there, and we hope for them a speedy recovery,” said Burks.

No people were injured, and the animal was secured in its night house, officials said.

“The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss,” said Frank Donze, the Audubon Zoo’s communications specialist. “Today is a difficult day for the Audubon family.”

Donze said a review will take place, as well as an investigation to find out how the jaguar escaped.

The zoo, which introduced Valerio in a February post on Facebook, plans to reopen Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m.

Source: USA Today

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