Audubon Zoo

Jaguar Escapes, Kills 8 Animals at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

A vet team managed to capture and sedate the jaguar; no humans were injured

Eight animals have now died after a jaguar escaped from its habitat at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans Saturday morning.

The male jaguar escaped around 7:20 a.m. before the zoo was open to the public. reports an alpaca and fox died Sunday, the day after the male jaguar killed four alpacas, one emu and one fox. The jaguar was captured and returned to its night house after being sedated by a vet team.

No people were hurt and the zoo was reopened Sunday.

The zoo acquired the alpacas in March from farms in Alabama and Mississippi. The alpaca that died overnight Sunday was the zoo's last living alpaca.

One injured fox continues to be monitored.

"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss. Today is a difficult day for the Audubon family," a statement from the Audobon Nature Institute said.

It's not immediately clear how the animal escaped. Zoo officials say inspections found that the roof was "compromised," but initial findings concluded that keeper error was not a factor.

This is not the first time a jaguar has escaped its enclosure at Audubon. In 2001, a 70-pound cub named Mulac got loose for about 10 minutes before he was brought down with a tranquilizer dart. No animals or humans were injured in that escape.

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. "Jaguars will eat almost any vertebrate. Deer, dogs, snakes, fish, horses, turtles, armadillos, mice and birds are all on the menu," the site says.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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