Audubon Zoo in New Orleans closes after jaguar escapes exhibit and kills 9 other animals

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is closed after a jaguar escaped its exhibit Saturday morning and attacked and killed eight other animals, according to zoo officials.

Around 7:20 a.m., an adult male jaguar escaped its habitat, according to officials. Authorities say the zoo was closed to the public at the time of the escape and no humans were injured.

Staff and security were able to sedate the jaguar by 8:15 a.m., but authorities said four alpaca, an emu and a fox who were in nearby exhibits were attacked and did not survive. Three other animals later died from their injuries.

"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss," Audubon Zoo Communications Specialist Frank Donze said. "Today is a difficult day for the Audubon family."

It was not immediately clear how the animal escaped. An investigation is underway.

This is not the first time a jaguar has escaped its enclosure at Audubon. In 2001, a 70-pound cub named Mulac got loose for about 10 minutes before he was brought down with a tranquilizer dart. No animals or humans were injured in that escape

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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