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Dallas Zoo closes to search for missing clouded leopard

Colin Langford/Getty Images

(DALLAS) — The Dallas Zoo has closed its doors Friday as it searches for a clouded leopard that appears to have escaped from its enclosure.

“One of our clouded leopards was not in its habitat when the team arrived this morning and is unaccounted for at this time,” the zoo said in a statement on Twitter.

Dallas Zoo said it issued a “code blue,” for a non-dangerous animal outside of its habitat.

The female leopard, named Nova, is believed to have escaped through a tear in the mesh around its enclosure, according to Harrison Edell, the executive vice president of animal care at the zoo. Luna, Nova’s sister, was still in the enclosure when zookeepers arrived Friday morning.

The leopards are about 4 years old, Edell said. Clouded leopards are a small species of leopard, only about 25 pounds, he added.

“She does not pose a threat to humans,” Edell said. “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.”

Clouded leopards are found in southeast Asia and China and males grow to be about 50 pounds, according to the Smithsonian Institute. Females only reach about 25 to 35 pounds. In the wild they eat monkeys, small deer and wild boars.

The zoo said Dallas police are on the scene as they continue to search for the big cat.

“Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on grounds and hiding,” the zoo added.

The zoo occupies 106 acres just south of downtown Dallas and has more than 400 species and 2,000 animals.

This is a developing story. Please check back for details.


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