Dallas Zoo closes during search for missing clouded leopard
UPDATE: The leopard has been located.
(CNN) — Zoo officials and Dallas police are searching for a clouded leopard that is missing from its exhibit at the Dallas Zoo.
On Friday morning, the Texas zoo tweeted that they were closed due to a “serious situation.”
“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,” said the zoo in a subsequent tweet. “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 is closed today due to a serious situation.
— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 13, 2023
The zoo added that the Dallas Police Department was on site and assisting with the search for the big cat.
“Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on grounds and hiding,” the zoo said. “Our focus right now is on locating the animal.”
Clouded leopards are categorized as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and poaching. There are around 10,000 of the felines left in the wild across southeast Asia, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The leopards typically weigh between 11 and 20 kilos, or 24 and 44 pounds, according to the WWF.
The Dallas Zoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
In March, the zoo posted a video on its YouTube channel of two clouded leopard sisters, Nova and Luna. It is not clear if the missing leopard is either of the two portrayed.
In the video, the zoo’s associate curator of mammals, Lisa Van Slett, explained that clouded leopards are unique among other cat species because they are arboreal, spending much of their time in trees. The sisters arrived at the Dallas Zoo from the Houston Zoo, she said.
Zoological manager Audra C. added in the video that little is known about the “amazing species” in the wild due to their “aloof personalities.”
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