As one of the most fearsome animals in the jungle, the jaguar is not a creature to be trifled with. They are rapid, vicious and very much trained killers. For that reason, the idea of keeping one in a zoo or any kind of enclosure feels needless and dangerous. Something so majestic should not be kept in such environments for humans to ogle and point at. Especially when, as this story shows, the chances of escape aren’t quite as ridiculous as they first sound.
Take the story of the jaguar that escaped from Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. The Jaguar got out and managed to attack and kill six animals whilst harming another three. The animal in question is Valerio, the 3-year-old Jaguar. He killed a group of alpacas, an emu and also a fox. While no humans were injured, it’s hardly a stretch to say that they could have been. Perhaps keeping killing machines that can move at breakneck speeds might not be a good idea?
It managed to also injure another alpaca and a pair of foxes. Escaping from his enclosure at about 7:20 AM local time, he went on a rampage for around an hour before being sedated and taken back ‘home’ to his habitat in the zoo.
The zoo itself released a heartfelt statement, saying: “The team responded immediately to the incident. Veterinarians had to prepare tranquilizers and position themselves to get a good line of sight. Once darted, the jaguar was sedated within minutes. We are still investigating how this happened. From our initial inspection, it appears the roof of the habitat was compromised. We are still investigating, and no animals will be housed in this enclosure until the investigation and repairs are completed. The safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and animals is our number one priority. We are taking this incident very seriously and working to investigate what happened to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. We perform drills annually and have protocols for this exact situation to ensure that emergencies of this kind are resolved as safely and quickly as possible.”
A ‘difficult day’
Marking it as a ‘difficult day’ for the animal care team, having seen some of their beloved creatures die, the zoo’s Vice President, Joel Hamilton, said that there was no plans to put down the jaguar because it’s “what jaguars do”, saying: “Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for them. We have grief counselors coming in to talk to staff to help them get through this.”
The zoo was forced to be closed for Saturday due to the event but opened again at 10 AM on the Sunday. The zoo itself is a tremendous zoo and does a lot of good work to help care for the animals within. However, such a powerful animal, whilst amazing to see up-close and personal, can definitely be better understood if we take the time to appreciate the kind of habitat they can live in comfortably.
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