A jaguar has killed eight animals after it escaped its zoo enclosure and went on a nearly hour-long killing spree.
Valerio, a male three-year-old jaguar, escaped his habitat on Saturday about 7.20am while the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans was closed. The big cat went on a rampage before he was sedated at about 8.15am.
While there were no people injured, “sadly, four alpacas, one emu and one fox” were all killed, the zoo said in a statement.
Another alpaca and a second fox later died from their injuries taking the total number of animals killed by the jaguar to eight.
A third fox was also injured.
The zoo was kept closed on Sunday.
“We are still investigating how this happened,” the zoo said.
“From our initial inspection, it appears the roof of the habitat was compromised. We are still investigating, and no animals will be housed in this enclosure until the investigation and repairs are completed.”
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Investigations also concluded “keeper error was not a factor” in the incident.
Zoo curator Joel Hamilton said the jaguar will not be euthanised.
“Unfortunately, it was doing what jaguars do,” he said.
“We certainly are not going to euthanise the animal over this.”
Valero is one of two jaguars living at the zoo. The other is a female, named Ix Chel, who was in a separate indoor enclosure when Valerio broke out.
The zoo has brought in grief counsellors and a child psychologist for staff and visitors who may have been affected.