Calling it "the biggest tragedy we've had" for as long as he can remember, Ron Forman, head of the private nonprofit Audubon Nature Institute that runs New Orleans' prized zoo, spoke somberly Saturday after an escaped jaguar named Valerio killed six animals and injured three others.
An emu named Elmo, a red fox named Maggie Mae and four alpacas named Noel, Micia, Alexandria and Lil Melody died. An alpaca named Daisy and two foxes called Copper and Rusty were injured. No humans were hurt.
The incident occurred around 7:20 a.m. before the zoo was scheduled to open.
Research of archived Times-Picayune reports via LexisNexis shows five incidents of animals escaping at the zoo since 1992. None of the reported incidents involved injuries to humans.
“These accidents happen, you know, on some kind of a recurring basis around the world,” Doug Cress, CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, told The Washington Post in 2017 after a tiger escaped and mauled a British zookeeper. “And it’s because you’re dealing with animals that, at their genetic core, are built differently than we might like them to be. They are designed to be wild animals.”
A male African warthog escaped from his holding pen near the rear of the zoo. The animal, which had tusks, put a hole in a fence. Workers confined the hog to back road until it was sedated.
A then-17-year-old lion named Mahat escaped from her pen after a keeper opened a gate on the enclosure. The lion wandered into an equipment room and tranquilized.
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A then-9-month-old jaguar named Mulac broke through the strands of a stainless-steel wire that lined the front of the exhibit.
Mulac escaped for about 10 minute before being tranquilized.
A Sumatran orangutan named Berani escaped for about 10 minutes. The orangutan cleverly used a t-shirt to help scale a 10-1/2-foot wall and swing out the habitat.
He swung back into the exhibit after a zookeeper yelled at him.
A 30-pound, 11-year-old black-and-white primate named Kivuli escaped for about 30 minutes. Zoo staff were able to corral Kivuli without a tranquilizer.
The escaped jaguar that killed six animals and injured three others at New Orleans' Audubon Zoo on Saturday morning apparently had a "compromi…
An escaped jaguar has shined a light in a typically dark area of the Audubon Zoo: The Jaguar Jungle.
The Audubon Zoo said it would be closed Saturday after an adult jaguar escaped its enclosure and killed several animals.
The zoo announced the incident in a press release Saturday morning.