Police Say Fencing “Intentionally Cut” After Clouded Leopard Escapes Dallas Zoo Enclosure

The Dallas Zoo had to close on Friday because one of their adult clouded leopards went missing from its habitat.

“We have an ongoing situation at the Zoo right now with a Code Blue – that is a non-dangerous animal that is out of its habitat. One of our clouded leopards was not in its habitat when the team arrived this morning and is unaccounted for at this time.” The Dallas Zoo said.

The zoo announced later Friday that it had located the missing clouded leopard.

According to Dallas Police Sgt. Warren Mitchell, it appears the fencing around the clouded leopard’s enclosure was “intentionally cut.”

ABC News reported:

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.

Police and zoo officials believe the fence was “intentionally cut,” Dallas Police Sgt. Warren Mitchell said.

“It was their belief and it is our belief that this was an intentional act,” Mitchell told reporters during a Friday press briefing. “And so we have started a criminal investigation.”

No further details were shared on the investigation.

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.”