UPDATE: Official: Escaped jaguar bit through steel cable barrier
UPDATE: NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A jaguar that escaped its enclosure and killed nine other animals at a New Orleans zoo apparently was able to bite through a steel-cable barrier that forms the roof of its habitat. That's the word from an official at the Audubon Zoo.
Managing Director Kyle Burks told reporters Tuesday that the jaguar named Valerio apparently slipped through the resulting small gap in the cables.
Three foxes, five alpacas and an emu died as a result of attacks by the 3-year-old jaguar.
No people were hurt during the escape. The animal was tranquilized and was safely removed less than an hour after an employee discovered it was out early Saturday, before the zoo's opening time.
But Burks says officials don't know how long it roamed free before the escape was discovered.
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PREVIOUS STORY: A jaguar escaped from its habitat at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and killed six animals on Saturday morning.
The male jaguar escaped around 7:20 a.m. before the zoo was open to the public. A vet team captured and sedated the animal an hour later after it had mauled four alpacas, one emu and a fox. No people were hurt in the incident.
"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss. Today is a difficult day for the Audubon family," a statement from the Audobon Nature Institute said.
The zoo announced it was closed Saturday and would reopen Sunday.
It was not immediately clear how the animal escaped. The Audubon Nature Institute announced it would conduct an "action review" and investigation into how the jaguar escaped.
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.
According to the zoo's website, jaguars are the largest felines in the Americas, and the third largest in the world, known for their powerful bite. "Jaguars will eat almost any vertebrate. Deer, dogs, snakes, fish, horses, turtles, armadillos, mice and birds are all on the menu," the site says.