The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans said it would be closed Saturday after an adult jaguar escaped its enclosure and killed several animals. "This is by far the biggest incident, the biggest magnitude, the biggest tragedy we've had".
While it has not happened in quite a long time, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is not a stranger to an escaped jaguar.
The Audubon Zoo said in a statement that the jaguar escaped around 7:30 a.m. before the zoo was open for the day. Officials said the killings appeared to stem from territorial disputes.
"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss", a news release from the zoo says. No animals or humans were injured in that escape.
Jaguars at the zoo are kept in a glass-fronted exhibit within "Jaguar Jungle", which houses other animals including the alpaca enclosure. The zoo is going to remain closed through Saturday as officials continue their investigation, but it is expected to return to normal operating hours on Sunday, July 15, 2018.
"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. He is incredibly smart and loves learning new training behaviors. But none of those incidents led to other animals being harmed or killed.