Jaguar escapes habitat at Audubon Zoo, kills 6 animals

Jaguar escapes habitat at Audubon Zoo, kills 6 animals

Audubon Zoo officials are investigating what led to a jaguar escaping from its enclosure Saturday morning before killing six animals and injuring others.

The male jaguar escaped around 7:20 a.m. Saturday and was captured and returned to its night house after being sedated by a vet team almost an hour later.

The three-year-old jaguar, named Valerio, killed four alpacas, an emu and a fox in nearby habitats before it was sedated by the zoo's veterinary team less than an hour later. No humans were hurt.

In cases like this, a zoo may consider putting down the animal in question, but Valerio will not be.

The facility was shut down as the staff dealt with the incident, but it's scheduled to reopen Sunday.

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

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But the Advocate said it found five other instances in the zoo's history when an animal escaped, including another jaguar that got loose. Staff members believe the jaguar may have slipped through a compromised section of his enclosure's roof.

The jaguar has been captured and sedated, according to WDSU.

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".

"We care for these animals every day". 'This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had'.

He said: "Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for them. We closed the zoo today to help our team mourn", Burks said.

The Audubon Zoo is in New Orleans.