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Abilene Zoo Investigating Jaguar Escape

Abilene Zoo Director Bill Gersonde gives an update on the investigation of the jaguar escape.

The Abilene Zoo is investigating how one of the Zoo’s jaguars escaped its exhibit on Monday. The incident happened early in the morning before the Zoo was open to the public. Staff found two-year-old Estrella perched above the neighboring exhibit where she had attacked a spider monkey. She was sedated and put into her off-exhibit quarters. The spider monkey had to be euthanized.

"There have been jaguars in that facility since 1995," said Zoo Director Bill Gersonde. "So, that’s probably the frustrating thing for us is, how did this happen?"

Gersonde said a team of staff from the veterinary, animal care and maintenance departments will find out how Estrella managed to escape.

"They’ll take measurements of any gaps or spaces or anything," Gersonde said. "Trust me, these people will go through it with a fine-toothed comb."

Until the problem is resolved, both of the jaguars will be kept in their off-exhibit quarters. Gersonde said the zoo staff conducts monthly drills to prepare for emergency situations like this.