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Jaguar Escapes Enclosure at Audubon Zoo, Kills 8 Animals

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When a jaguar escaped from its enclosure in the Audubon Zoo, Saturday, the other animals were immediately at risk. The habitats that housed the animals kept them from escaping the jaguar’s killing spree. The incident shut down the zoo and left eight of the zoo’s animals dead. The jaguar was only out of his enclosure for an hour.

The male jaguar escaped his enclosure in the New Orleans zoo around 7:20 a.m. An hour later, he was again locked inside the building he occupies at night. In that time, though, the big cat killed four alpacas, an emu, and a fox. An additional alpaca and fox, both of which were mauled during Saturday’s attack, died from their wounds on Sunday.

No humans were injured. As the investigation continued on Sunday, zookeepers discovered a hole in the habitat’s roof through which the cat was able to escape.

“The zoo’s website says the jaguars were kept in a glass-fronted exhibit within ‘Jaguar Jungle.’ The alpaca enclosure is also part of Jaguar Jungle. The Nocturnal House, filled with bats, ringtail cats, red-eyed tree frogs, giant cave roaches, Anthony’s poison arrow frogs, Costa Rican zebra tarantulas, and night owl monkeys, and a children’s play area make up the remainder of the exhibit,” NOLA.com reports.

Big cat breakouts in American zoos are hardly common, but a jaguar escaped in the Audubon Zoo in 2001. Mulac, a 70-pound juvenile, was on the loose for 10 minutes before he was tranquilized with a dart and returned to his habitat.

“Other escape artists at the zoo include an Eastern black and white Colobus monkey in 2013 and a leopard cub in 1972,” NOLA.com notes. “The 30-pound, 11-year-old primate named Kivuli was safely cornered within 30 minutes, while the 4-moth-old feline named Samba was found in the bushes.”

Officials closed the zoo Saturday, and kept it closed on Sunday.

Here’s the latest update on the escape and the status of the animals.