Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Jaguar escapes at New Orleans zoo, kills 6 animals

Jaguar escapes at New Orleans zoo, kills 6 animals

A jaguar has escaped from its enclosure at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and killed six other animals before it was captured, forcing the zoo to close for the day.

Zoo officials said it wasn't clear how Valero managed to escape his habitat. However, four alpacas, one emu and one fox were attacked and killed by the jaguar.

According to the zoo's website, jaguars are the largest felines in the Americas, and the third largest in the world, known for their powerful bite.

The zoo's vice president, Joel Hamilton, went on to say that while the incident was heartbreaking, they will not put Valerio down because he "was doing what jaguars do".

Valerio was sedated and returned to confinement in the animal's night quarters without incident.

The statement added it was a "difficult day for the Audubon family" and said the animal care team was "devastated" by the loss.

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Frank Burks, the zoo's chief doctor, said an additional three animals are being treated for injuries.

A few animals at Audubon have escaped over the years, including a 70-pound cub in 2001 and two monkeys in 2013, according to the Times-Picayune. "Today is a hard day for the Audubon family", a statement from the Audobon Nature Institute said.

An internal investigation is examining how the animal escaped out of his quarters and the Audubon Zoo is set to reopen Sunday, July 15, at 10 a.m. 'This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had'. Forman also said that the staff would be provided with appropriate grief counseling in the coming days.

The zoo is inspected by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and was reaccredited last April.

"And it's because you're dealing with animals that, at their genetic core, are built differently than we might like them to be".

He said: "Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for them". We've never had an incident like that before.

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