The Dallas Zoo is releasing a “code blue” on Friday. What do zoo emergency protocols mean?

The Dallas Zoo issued a “code blue” at 10:20 a.m. Friday for a clouded leopard that went missing when staff checked it earlier in the morning.

But what does “code blue” mean?

When animals are found missing in their enclosures, the zoo activates different security codes, depending on the severity of the situation: Code Red and Code Blue, spokeswoman Kari Streiber said.

The zoo issues a blue code when non-dangerous animals go missing from their habitat.

“This is not an animal that would cause us a lot of concern in terms of injuries,” Streiber said of the leopard, which was still at large at 12:40 p.m.

The missing clouded leopard Nova was brought to the zoo in September 2021 along with her sister Luna. They are considered small but ferocious cats, with protruding fangs that can grow over 2 inches in length, and are about the size of a medium-sized dog.

At a press conference Friday, Harrison Edell, the zoo’s executive vice president of animal care and conservation, said Nova weighed between 20 and 25 pounds.

“It doesn’t pose a threat to humans,” Edell said, adding that a leopard and a clouded leopard are “completely different animals.”

Code Red is the next level of emergency protocol that the zoo can issue. It indicates when “a dangerous animal is found out of its habitat”.

Zoo officials have not issued a red code for years, she said. The code blue was once assigned a few years ago when a bird was blown off course during a bird show at the zoo.

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