Clouded Leopard Escapes From Dallas Zoo Enclosure

Clouded leopards are not a threat as Dallas Zoo is missing one

picture: jdross75 (Shutterstock)

A clouded leopard was reported missing at the Dallas Zoo on Friday as employees say they have turned up to work to find their gone and a crack in her mesh case. The zoo has issued an emergency call message tweeted that the clouded leopard was “safe,” but the zoo has closed while they search for the missing animal.

The zoo said the leopard, named Nova, was three to four years old and was not in its habitat when the team arrived on site this morning. The zoo said in a expression on Facebook: “Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on the premises and hiding.”

Harrison Edell, vice president of animal care at the Dallas Zoo, added in a statement, “Since she was thinking like a cat, she probably went straight to the trees and didn’t come down.”

According to Smithsonian Zoo websiteClouded leopards are native to Southeast Asia, and they “are neither a true big cat nor a true small cat because they cannot roar or purr.” The website added, “Poaching and habitat loss threaten this endangered species.”

Dallas police arrived at the scene and are actively searching for the leopard, who reportedly escaped through a crack in the chain link fence. Zoo officials say she is most likely frightened and may have climbed a tree to get out of the way, adding that she may be hiding to avoid being noticed, Edell said in the statement. A SWAT team was also deployed as a precaution.

Nova lived in the enclosure with her sister Luna (who is not missing), and both cats were transferred from the Houston Zoo to the Dallas Zoo in 2021. Edell assured the public that clouded leopards differ from other leopards in that they are much smaller, weigh only 30 pounds and pose no danger to humans.

The police use drones with infrared technology to search the treetops. If anyone spots the clouded leopard, the zoo strongly encourages them to call the police, and while Nova isn’t threatening, people shouldn’t try to capture her as she’s still a wild animal.

The zoo issued a Code Blue in the search for Nova, writing on Twitter, “Our focus right now is on locating the animal.”

Edell has asked that if Nova escapes the enclosure, people should send photos and tips to the zoo at 469-554-7501, info@dallaszoo.com, or contact the Dallas Zoo Twitter.

https://gizmodo.com/clouded-leopard-dallas-zoo-1849986355 Clouded Leopard Escapes From Dallas Zoo Enclosure

Zack Zwiezen

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