Missing Clouded Leopard Found At The Dallas Zoo
Dallas Zoo officials have announced that Nova, a four-year-old clouded leopard has been found and is not injured.
Dallas Zoo officials and Dallas Police have been searching the Dallas Zoo after reports this morning that the leopard was missing from it's enclosure. Zoo officials called in "code blue" and shut down the zoo while officials searched for the animal.
According to NBC DFW, the leopard was found shortly before 5:15 p.m. this evening.
"We are thrilled to report we located clouded leopard Nova on-grounds at the Zoo this afternoon at approximated 4:40 p.m. She was first seen very near the original habitat, and teams were able to safely secure her just before 5:15 p.m," the zoo said. "Initial indications are she is not injured. She is being evaluated by our veterinary staff right now. We’ll provide further updates on her status tomorrow."
Dallas Zoo Officials along with the Dallas Police Department believe that an enclosure that held two clouded leopards was intentionally cut open leading to one of the big cats escaping the enclosure on Friday.
Zoo officials say the enclosure did not fail and that they believe this was an intentional act according to the Dallas Morning News.
“It was clear that this opening was not a habitat failure, it was not an exhibit failure and it wasn’t keeper error,” he said.
Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a Dallas police spokesman, confirmed police have opened a criminal investigation into the leopard’s disappearance.
“It is our belief that this was an intentional act,” Mitchell said.
The zoo issued a “code blue” — an alert when non-dangerous animals aren’t in their enclosures — when employees discovered Nova was missing.
The zoo stressed that the cat, who weighs about 25 pounds, is not a danger to people. She is also not “a greater risk for pets” than other animals native to urban North Texas, the zoo said.
Earlier on Friday, Zoo officials had said that much of the Zoo would reopen on Saturday. It remains unclear as of this publishing if all exhibits will be open now that the leopard has been found safe and secure.