New Orleans zoo to reopen after loose jaguar incident

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An adult male jaguar escaped his enclosure at a Louisiana zoo and killed six other animals Saturday.

The jaguar escaped around 7:20 a.m. and zoo workers were able to sedate it at 8:15 a.m., preventing it from interacting with other animals.

It would appear this was more than enough time for the jaguar to embark on a killing spree, mauling four alpacas, one emu and a fox, as well as injuring three others - two alpacas and another fox.

"In over a 100 year period, we've never had any incident like this", said Ron Forman, the president and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute at press conference on Saturday.

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An "after action review" is taking place to determine how the killer cat got free. Zoo officials say inspections found that the roof was "compromised", but initial findings concluded that keeper error was not a factor. According to the Washington Post, the 3-year-old jaguar named Valerio was engaged in a pure territorial display, as none of the animals it killed was devoured. "This is by far the biggest tragedy we've had".

He said: "Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for them. We have grief counsellors coming in to talk to staff to help them get through this", he said.

"This is a sad day for the Audubon family including our staff, volunteers, supporters and our community".

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