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

Jaguar Escapes Zoo Enclosure, Kills Trapped Animals One After The Other
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A jaguar at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans slipped out of its enclosure and went on a territorial killing rampage sometime overnight, attacking four alpacas, an emu and a fox trapped in their own habitats before zoo officials managed to sedate it.
The big cat was first reported missing at 7:20 a.m., before the zoo opened, officials said in a press release. By 8:15 it had been spotted, tranquilized and returned to its enclosure by veterinarians.No humans were injured by the animal, although the circumstances of the escape sparked a worrisome thought at what might have been: The “jaguar jungle” is also home to a children’s play area.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. In addition to the slain animals, three other injured animals were being cared for.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. The animals it pounced on were unable to escape their own enclosures.
The zoo was closed Saturday as officials tried to discover how the feline escaped. Grief counselors were also brought in for traumatized staff. The zoo planned to reopen Sunday at 10 a.m.
But the incident was certain to raise questions about the dangers of caging apex predators that have evolved to hunt and kill, and will quickly pounce on prey animals – or humans – if safeguards break down.
In the Spring of 2017, a British zookeeper was mauled after being trapped in the Hamerton Park Zoo’s tiger enclosure with at least one of the big cats.
Horrified witnesses said they could see zookeepers sprinting to the edge of the tiger enclosure, throwing pieces of meat as an unsuccessful distraction.
In 2016, 38-year-old zookeeper Stacey Konwiser was killed by a tiger while preparing the “night house” at the Palm Beach Zoo.