Jaguar escapes at Audubon Zoo, killing nine other animals before recapture

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NEW ORLEANS — A jaguar escaped from his habitat at the Audubon Zoo Saturday morning, killing nine other animals before he was caught and sedated.

“The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss,” Audubon spokesman Frank Donze said in a news release. “Today is a difficult day for the Audubon family.”

The male jaguar, 3-year-old Valerio, got out about 7:20 a.m. and was recaptured by 8:15 a.m. No humans were injured, but the jaguar attacked and killed four alpaca, one emu, and one fox in nearby habitats. Valerio also injured other alpacas and foxes.

The zoo is closed Saturday and will reopen at 10 a.m. Sunday to give employees the chance to grieve the loss of the animals.

Zoo officials said staffers are trained for these types of situations, which is why they were able to recapture the jaguar so quickly.

Audubon Institute CEO Ron Forman said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the zoo’s 100-year history.

Watch the full Saturday afternoon update from zoo officials below:


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