Jaguar escapes habitat at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, killing 6 animals


A New Orleans zoo remained closed on Saturday after a jaguar escaped its habitat and killed six other animals.

The male jaguar escaped around 7:20 a.m. before the zoo was open to the public.

The jaguar was sedated and secured by the veterinary team and the situation was resolved by 8:15 a.m., but sadly, four alpaca, one emu, and one fox in nearby habitats were attacked and killed. No humans were hurt. Three other animals were being treated after the incident.

The Audubon Zoo was closed as the zoo investigated the incident.

An "after action review" is taking place to determine how the killer cat got free.

"These accidents happen, you know, on some kind of a recurring basis around the world", said Doug Cress, CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jaguar escapes New Orleans zoo enclosure, killing 4 alpacas, an emu and a fox
‘Tragic loss’ at Audubon Zoo after jaguar escapes, kills six animals; zoo closed Saturday | The Sun Herald

The New Orleans Advocate newspaper later reported that the roof over the jaguar enclosure had been compromised.

It added: 'Once darted, the jaguar was sedated within minutes'.

Such breakdowns, experts have told The Washington Post, do not happen only at shoddy zoos with slapdash animal-care practices. 'This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had'.

Grief counselors have been brought in to help the staff deal with the loss. Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for these animals.

"We are certainly not going to euthanize the animal over this", said Joel Hamilton, vice president and general curator for the zoo. 'Today is a hard day for the Audubon family'.

Valerio was born at the San Diego Zoo in March 2015 and moved to New Orleans in October 2017.

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