Dallas Zoo Closes as Search for Missing Clouded Leopard

The Dallas Zoo was forced to close on Friday after crews tried to find a missing clouded leopard named Nova. In a statement posted on Facebook around 10:15 a.m., staff announced that the zoo was closed “due to a serious situation.” They later announced that they had issued a “code blue” for a “non-dangerous animal out of its habitat”.

“One of our clouded leopards was not in its habitat when the team arrived this morning and is currently missing,” the zoo wrote. “Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on the property and hiding.” Officers from the Dallas Police Department are also on site to help the zoo with the search, they added. “The zoo is closed today as our teams work to locate and restore the animal.”

Several police units arrived on the scene, including officers with a drone, according to a WFAA report in Dallas. Additional information about the search has not yet been disclosed. “We will share updates and additional information as soon as we can,” the zoo wrote on Facebook. “Right now we’re focused on finding the animal.”

Clouded leopards native to Southeast Asia can weigh up to 50 pounds, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Institute of Zoo Biology and Conservation. “However, they are neither a real big cat nor a real little cat because they cannot growl or purr,” the Smithsonian’s website says. “Poaching and habitat loss threaten this vulnerable species.” Last year, the Dallas Zoo released a video of Nova and her sister, Luna. Both leopards arrived at the zoo in 2021 from the Houston Zoo where they were born.

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