A jaguar escaped from his habitat at the Audubon Zoo Saturday morning, killing six other animals before he was caught and sedated.
The jaguar killed four alpaca, an emu and a fox after escaping.
In cases like this, a zoo may consider putting down the animal in question, but Valerio will not be. The zoo had not yet opened for the day.
By 8:15 it had been spotted, tranquillised and returned to its enclosure by veterinary surgeons. One additional alpaca and two foxes were also injured in the incident, but survived and are being cared for by veterinarians, according to WDSU-TV.
Around 7:20 a.m. on Saturday morning, a male jaguar went rogue from his habitat and began making his way around the zoo's enclosures.
The house is where the animals are cleaned and fed, then boarded overnight. But none of those incidents led to other animals being harmed or killed.
The jaguar's attack on other animals was likely territorial, rather than driven by a desire to hunt for food, officials said.
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Unfortunately, the damage had already been done in that short period of time that the jaguar was on the loose.
"We appreciate the overwhelming support and the many condolences from the community on social media", the zoo said in a press release.
Zookeepers say losing these animals is like losing loved ones.
Joel Hamilton, the Audubon Zoo's vice-president and animal curator, echoed that sentiment when asked whether there was something particularly aggressive about Valerio. The zoo is in Uptown New Orleans between Audubon Park and the Mississippi River.
Meet Valerio, our male jaguar!
He adds they are inspected by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the zoo was recently re-accredited in April. "Certainly his behaviour wasn't out of the ordinary for that kind of an animal". For WDSU's original story, see the attached link. "We closed the zoo today to help our team mourn", Burks said.