Jaguar escapes habitat at New Orleans, kills 6 animals

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans zoo remained closed on Saturday after a jaguar escaped its habitat and killed six other animals.

Audubon Zoo said the 3-year-old male jaguar, named Valero, was spotted outside his enclosure by a zoo employee around 7 a.m.

Valero attacked four alpacas, one emu and a fox. The animals died.

Kyle Burks, vice president and managing director for the zoo, said at a news conference that Valero was sedated by a team of veterinarians and the animal was returned and secured in his area. No humans were injured.

The zoo was closed Saturday but said it will reopen Sunday.

“We care for these animals every day,” Burks said. “We closed the zoo today to help our team mourn.”

No explanation has been given for the jaguar’s escape, but the zoo said an “after-action review” is taking place, as well as an investigation into how the jaguar escaped.

“We take this situation very seriously and we’re working to investigate everything that happened so we could prevent anything like this from happening again ” Burks said.