Jaguar escapes, kills 6 animals at New Orleans zoo

Audubon Zoo

An eighth animal has died after a jaguar escaped his enclosure yesterday morning at the Audubon Zoo.

The zoo was closed Saturday but officials said it would reopen Sunday, with the exception of the jaguar habitat.

Valero managed to attack numerous fellow zoo animals, killing four alpaca, one emu, and one fox in adjacent habitats.

Zoo officials said keeper error was not a factor in the escape. The zoo had not yet opened for the day.

An "after action review" is taking place to determine how the killer cat got free. We are taking this incident very seriously and working to investigate what happened to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

The jaguar's attack on other animals was likely territorial, rather than driven by a desire to hunt for food, officials said.

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The New Orleans Advocate newspaper later reported that the roof over the jaguar enclosure had been compromised.

Such breakdowns, experts have told The Washington Post, do not happen only at shoddy zoos with slapdash animal-care practices.

"The animal was approached and sedated by our veterinary team and returned and secured in his night quarters", Kyle Burks, vice president and managing director of Audubon Zoo, said. "This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had".

"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss", the zoo said in a statement. Forman also said that the staff would be provided with appropriate grief counseling in the coming days.

The Audubon Zoo is in New Orleans. Back in 2001, a 70-pound jaguar cub was on the loose for about 10 minutes before being captured with no injuries to humans or animals.

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