Clouded Leopard Escapes Habitat And Forces Dallas Zoo To Close, Staff Says

Not the clouded leopard mentioned in the story. (Photo by VCG via Getty Images)

Devan Bugbee Contributor
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Texas’ Dallas Zoo was closed Friday after a clouded leopard escaped her habitat, zoo staff told Fox4 News.

The caretaking team could not account for one of the zoo’s 4-year-old clouded leopard sisters, Nova, when they arrived in the morning, prompting zoo officials to declare a “code blue,” meaning a non-dangerous animal is missing. The team believes Nova escaped after discovering a tear in the mesh of her habitat, Fox4 reported.

“She does not pose a danger to humans. And more likely than not, when she’s scared, she’s going to climb a tree, stay out of our way, hunt some squirrels and birds and hope not to be noticed,” Dallas Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation Harrison Edell told the outlet.

The Dallas Police Department is assisting the zoo in locating the animal, which is believed to be “still on [zoo] grounds and hiding,” the Dallas Zoo tweeted. (RELATED: ‘Porn-Sniffing Dog’ Dies After Long Career Of Putting Perverts Behind Bars)

“The Zoo is closed today due to a serious situation,” staff said Friday morning.

“Our focus right now is on locating the animal,” the zoo added.

Nova was born alongside her sister Luna at the Houston Zoo before the pair was transferred to Dallas, CBS reported. “We don’t think she has gone very far. She is likely to stay linked to home as she and her sister Luna are attached at the hip,” Edell told the outlet.

Clouded leopards are native to Southeast Asia, according to the Smithsonian’s National & Zoo Conservations & Biology Institute. They are often referred to as the “smallest of big cats,” although the clouded leopard is not a direct descendant of the regular leopard, CBS reported. Males can weigh up to 50 pounds, and females often weigh between 25-35 pounds.