Jaguar Escapes Zoo Enclosure, Kills Trapped Animals One After The Other

Hannah Rogers
July 15, 2018

Officials with the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans are investigating how a jaguar escaped his enclosure this morning. The zoo said it plans to investigate how the escape happened.

Valerio, a three-year-old male jaguar, killed four alpacas, an emu and a fox - but no humans were injured in the incident.

In a news conference Saturday, zoo officials insisted the facility was safe for the general public, even though they wouldn't say how the apex predator managed to escape and either kill or injure every alpaca on zoo property.

The jaguar, a 3-year-old named Valerio, did not appear to be eating the animals it went after but rather was engaged in a territorial display, said Kyle Burks, the zoo's vice-president and managing director.

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

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The animals it pounced on were unable to escape their own enclosures.

"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss", the zoo said in a statement. "This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had". We are offering grief counseling to our staff to ensure they are supported during this time.

"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. An investigation is ongoing and will continue until officials are able to determine just how the jaguar escaped its habitat. "Today is a hard day for the Audubon family", a statement from the Audobon Nature Institute said.

'We receive inspections a few times a year from Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1981, ' Forman said.

"They are created to be wild animals", he said. "In over 100 year period, we've never had an incident to create a problem for the public".

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