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Published On: Mon, Jul 16th, 2018

New Orleans: Jaguar escapes at Audubon Zoo, kills several animals

There was a tragic event at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans Saturday morning as a 3-year-old male jaguar named Valerio escaped prior to the zoo opening and killed and injured several zoo animals.

Valerio escaped at 720 am and was sedated by the vet team by 815 am. The team responded immediately to the incident. Veterinarians had to prepare tranquilizers and position themselves to get a good line of sight. Once darted, the jaguar was sedated within minutes.

This prompted the zoo to close Saturday.

In total, six animals died-three alapacas, two foxes and an emu. In addition, two other animals are being treated for their injuries.

Zoo officials are still investigating how this happened. Upon initial investigation, it appears the roof of the habitat was compromised. Initial findings concluded keeper error was not a factor in this incident. The investigation continues, and no animals will be housed in this enclosure until the investigation and repairs are completed.

Audubon Zoo is home to two jaguars. The female, Ix Chel was safe in a separate indoor habitat during the incident.

Valerio was born March 2015 at San Diego Zoo and moved to Audubon Zoo in October 2017.

Zoo officials say the safety of their guests, staff, volunteers, and animals is our #1 priority. They are taking this incident very seriously and working to investigate what happened to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

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