ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With the recent event of the clouded leopard escaping its habitat at the Dallas Zoo, it reminded us of an similar event that happened right here in Abilene.
In May of 2017, a jaguar escaped its habitat at the Abilene Zoo and injured a spider monkey. The 2-year-old jaguar, Estrella, was found on top of the monkey exhibit enclosure, although no one knows how long she was there.
The spider monkey was injured very badly and had to be euthanized. Emergency response teams were able to use a tranquilizer gun to safely subdue Estrella and relocate her to a safe place.
After investigation, Zoo Director Bill Gersonde said they determined that the jaguar escape by scaling a 12-foot-tall artificial rock wall and a cinder block wall, then squeezed through an eight inch gap between the wall and mesh top of the exhibit.
Click on the links below to see coverage from BigCountryHomepage as this story was unraveled in 2017:
The Dallas Zoo remains closed on January 13, but the clouded leopard has been found after a daylong search. The cat, Nova, was not injured and was located near her habitat.
The clouded leopard has a similar escape route as the Abilene Zoo’s jaguar, through a tear in the mesh of its habitat. Unlike Estrella’s escape, Dallas Zoo officials believe this escape was from an intentional cut through the mesh. The Dallas escape remains under a criminal investigation.