The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is set to remain closed throughout all of Saturday, July 14, 2018, after a jaguar escaped its habitat and killed a number of other animals.
"We are looking to investigate everything that happened and to prevent anything like this from ever happening again", said Forman. Zoo officials said there were no human injuries, but four alpaca, one emu and one fox in nearby habitats were attacked and killed.
In a news conference Saturday, zoo officials insisted the facility was safe for the general public, even though they wouldn't say how the apex predator managed to escape and either kill or injure every alpaca on zoo property.
According to a statement from the zoo, the staff and security quickly implemented the correct plan to ensure staff safety.
"One of our staff saw our 3-year-old male jaguar Valerio, was outside of his enclosure, and the zoo was closed at that time", said Dr. Kyle Burks, Vice President and Managing Director of Audubon Zoo. It was not immediately clear how the animal escaped.
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The animals it pounced on were unable to escape their own enclosures.
"These animals are their family, these people care for them 24 hours a day and seven days a week", Forman said.
Three other animals were injured and are now in immediate care, according to the zoo's doctor, Frank Burks.
"Certainly his behaviour wasn't out of the ordinary for that kind of an animal, and he's just a normal jaguar as far as we are concerned."Grief counselors were also brought in for traumatized staff.
"They are created to be wild animals", he said. "So, we have a responsibility to protect them. In over 100 year period, we've never had an incident to create a problem for the public".