Jaguar Who Escaped At Abilene Zoo Likely Scaled Rock Wall to Enter Crawl Space

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The investigation into how a jaguar escaped from her enclosure at the Abilene Zoo earlier this month is now complete. 

The May 15 escape ultimately leading to the death of a spider monkey.

According to zoo officials, the jaguar, named Estrella, likely escaped by scaling an artificial rock walk and going through a crawl space. 

“It has been determined that the escape began when the animal scaled a 12-foot-tall artificial rock wall and forced her way under the cable and netting top,” said Director Bill Gersonde. “She gained access to a crawl space between that rock wall and a cinderblock wall, scaled the cinderblock wall and forced her way out of an approximate 8-inch gap between that wall and the exhibit mesh top.”

Zoo officials said Estrella's young age of 2 and her 120-pound size contributed to her ability to wiggle out of her enclosure. 

Estrella was able to escape and gain access to a spider monkey. The spider monkey was euthanized following its injuries.

According to the zoo, it plans to fix the slender escape portal using horizontal and vertical rebar that will block the animals from being able to lift the metal netting.

The zoo plans to return Estrella and her sister Luna to the enclosure early next week once they feel the cats and other guests are safe. 

The investigation was conducted by staff from the veterinary, animal care and maintenance departments. 

Zoo officials said regular drills are conducted in case of emergencies like this one. 

 

 


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