Austin (KXAN) – The Dallas Zoo closed on Friday as it worked to find a clouded leopard that appears to have escaped its habitat.
The zoo said it was a “non-dangerous” animal, and Dallas police are helping to find it. It said it was a “serious situation”.
“Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on site and hiding,” the zoo tweeted at 10:21 am. The zoo believes a leopard may be in a tree on zoo grounds, the executive vice president of animal care and the conservatory said at a morning briefing.
The clouded leopard exhibit is on the northeast side of the zoo, between the tamarin and primate areas. The zoo said that when staff arrived in the morning, they couldn’t find the two leopard sisters and activated the “code blue”. One of them was found and is safe. Officials were working to view security cameras to see where the other might have gone, Edell said.
The Dallas Zoo told Dallas NBC station KXAS that the name of the missing leopard was Nova.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, clouded leopards live in the cloud forests of Southeast Asia and have a “vulnerable” conservation status. Male clouded leopards weigh up to 50 pounds, while females typically weigh 25 to 35 pounds, he says. The zoo said Nova weighed about 25 pounds.
According to Edell, every morning and throughout the day, zoo staff conduct animal counts. He added that they determined that the leopards escaped through a gap in the habitat grid.
In 2017, a jaguar escaped from the Abilene Zoo, according to KRBC. The zoo later discovered that a cat named Estrella had pushed through the mesh and cable at the top of the exhibit and managed to sneak into the underground behind her before climbing over another wall and finding another gap in the mesh. The zoo inspected the exhibit and made changes before returning the jaguars.
February 2021 The Dallas Zoo sent out a warning for another animal: a speckled crow named Onyx, who flew off while training in her free flight bird show. The zoo said in an April tweet that Onyx has yet to be found.