We have bad news for those hoping to check out the zoo in Dallas, Texas. According to new reports, the zoo has closed its door to visitors after a clouded leopard named Nova escaped.
The zoo officials became aware of the escape artist after they performed a headcount on Friday morning. When they noticed that the 20-pound creature was missing from its enclosure, they immediately issued a code blue alert.
According to officials at the Dallas zoo, when someone issues a code blue, it means a “non-dangerous animal 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. Dallas PD is onsite assisting with the search efforts,” the Dallas Zoo said in a statement on Facebook.
Per reports from Harrison Edell, Senior Director of Living Collections at the Dallas Zoo, he and other zoo officials concluded that Nova escaped after she successfully located a tear in the mesh of her pin.
Clouded leopard still missing from Dallas zoo, officials believe she could be hiding in the trees
In addition, the zoo, which is home to more than 400 species and 2,000 animals, also recruited the help of several police units in the area. At this time, zoo employees believe that Nova is somewhere on the grounds or lurking in the trees.
Before, Nova and her sister Luna became residents of the Dallas Zoon in the fall of 2021. They were previously transferred from the Houston Zoo.
“These guys are an arboreal species, so they do live up in the tops of trees,” said Sara Bjerklie, who has been an assistant zoological manager at the zoo in 2021.
She added: “All these tall, upright trees really help kind of mimic what their environment would look like out in the wild.”
Clouded leopards are natives of Southeast Asia and China. They also get their name thanks to the huge, cloud-like spots all over their fur. In addition, male clouded leopards can also weigh up to 50 pounds. On the other hand, female clouded leopards can weigh anywhere between 25 to 30 pounds.
In addition, the unique-looking cats prefer to reside in tropical environments such as rainforests and other jungles. At the same time, you can also find them in dry wooded areas. Moreover, some report that they’ve been spotted in the mangrove swamps in Borneo.
According to experts at the national zoo, clouded leopards are also neither considered actual big cats nor small cats. This is because they cannot purr quietly or roar ferociously. For food, they like to feast on a wide variety of animals, from monkeys to small deer to wild boars.