AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Dallas Zoo closed Friday as it worked to find a clouded leopard that appears to have escaped from its habitat.
The Zoo said it’s a “non-dangerous” animal, and Dallas police are helping with the search. It said it was a “serious situation.”
“Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on grounds and hiding,” the Zoo tweeted at 10:21 a.m. The zoo believes the leopard may be in a tree on the zoo grounds, Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation said in a morning briefing.
The clouded leopard exhibit is on the northeast side of the zoo, between the tamarin and primate areas. The zoo said when staff arrived in the morning, they couldn’t find two leopard sisters and triggered a “Code Blue.” One of them was found and is safe. Officials were working to review security cameras to see where the other may have gone, Edell said.
The Dallas Zoo told Dallas NBC station KXAS the missing leopard is named Nova.
Clouded leopards can be found in the cloud forests in Southeast Asia and have a “vulnerable” conservation status, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo, which also has a clouded leopard habitat. Male clouded leopards weigh up to 50 pounds, while females are usually 25 to 35 pounds, it said. The Zoo said Nova is about 25 pounds.
Each morning and throughout the day, zoo staff do a headcount of the animals, Edell said. He added they determined the leopards escaped through a tear in the mesh of the habitat.
In 2017, a jaguar escaped from the Abilene Zoo, KRBC reported. The zoo later discovered the cat, named Estrella, had pushed up on the netting and cable at the top of the exhibit and managed to get into a crawl space behind it, before climbing another wall and finding another gap in the netting. The zoo inspected the exhibit and made changes before putting the jaguars back.
In February 2021, the Dallas Zoo sent out an alert for another animal: a pied crow named Onyx that flew away during a training session in its free-flighted bird show. The Zoo said in an April tweet Onyx still hadn’t been found.