Police join search for missing clouded leopard at Dallas Zoo

DALLAS (AP) — A missing clouded leopard closed the Dallas Zoo Friday as police helped find the animal, which officials described as harmless and likely hiding somewhere on the zoo grounds.

A small cat weighs about 20-25 pounds (9-11 kg), said Harrison Edell, executive vice president of animal care and conservation at the Dallas Zoo. Searches at Texas’ largest zoo have focused on clearing trees, which Edell says clouded leopards love to climb.

The zoo tweeted that the missing cat, named Nova, was a “serious situation,” but Edell said the animal did not pose a threat to humans.

“If anything, she is very nervous and afraid of people,” Edell said.

He did not say how the animal escaped from the enclosure. Another clouded leopard at the zoo, Nova’s sister, was still in its habitat, Edell said.

Animals have already escaped from the enclosures of the Dallas Zoo. Most notably, this happened in 2004 when a 340-pound (154-kilogram) gorilla named Jabari jumped over a wall and went on a 40-minute rampage, injuring three people before police shot the animal.

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