A zoo in Texas was forced to close after a clouded leopard named Nova escaped from its enclosure, and police joined the search.
Officials at the Dallas Zoo stressed that the animal was not dangerous to humans and likely climbed trees, but warned locals to keep pets.
The fugitive is believed to be hiding somewhere within the 106-acre zoo grounds, the oldest and largest in Texas.
Harrison Edel, the zoo’s executive vice president for animal care and protection, said searches for the elusive leopard are focused on trees that cats like to climb.
Clouded leopards are wild cats native to Southeast Asia and China.
They weigh about 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg) and Edel said they pose no threat.
“If anything, she’s really nervous and afraid of people,” he added.
Edel told ABC News that Nova most likely escaped through a crack in the mesh around the enclosure where the Luna sisters remained.
The zoo’s latest appeal, dubbing the incident “Code Blue,” garnered hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter.
“Its habitat is dense forest and is designed for treetop life,” the zoo tweeted.
“Bigger than a domestic cat and smaller than most bobcats.
“If you think you are looking at an animal, stay away from it.”
The zoo asked if anyone saw Nova, “Take a picture and DM us.”
“To put your mind at ease, even if she does make it off the premises, this animal is no greater risk to pets than the North Texas natives that roam our neighborhood,” he added.
“But if you think it’s more comfortable to bring your pet indoors, go ahead.”
Nova is not the first escapee from the zoo.
In 2004, a 340-pound (154 kg) gorilla called Jabari burst out of his enclosure and rampaged through the park, injuring three people before police shot him dead.
https://news.sky.com/story/dallas-zoo-forced-to-close-as-escaped-clouded-leopard-remains-at-large-12786173 Dallas Zoo forced to close due to escaped clouded leopard on the run | US News