An escaped jaguar had an absolute free-for-all at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans after it was accidentally let out of its enclosure. He mauled four alpacas, one emu and one fox in nearby habitats before being sedated by a vet team almost an hour after his escape, the zoo said.
The zoo is expected to reopen to the public on Sunday.
According to a statement from the zoo, the staff and security quickly implemented the correct plan to ensure staff safety.
In this photo taken August 17, 2011, a jaguar walks in a public zoo.
Ron Forman, the president and chief executive of the zoo, said Saturday's series of attacks was the worst in the zoo's history, but told the public the Audubon Zoo was still safe. Back in 2001, a 70-pound jaguar cub was on the loose for about 10 minutes before being captured with no injuries to humans or animals.
The animals it pounced on were unable to escape their own enclosures.
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"These accidents happen, you know, on some kind of a recurring basis around the world", said Doug Cress, chief executive of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
"The animal care team is devastated by this tragic loss", a news release from the zoo says.
"We're looking at every possible cause", Kyle Burks, the zoo's vice-president and managing director, said.
An investigation will take place to determine how the jaguar escaped its enclosure. "This is by far the biggest incident, the biggest magnitude, the biggest tragedy we've had".
Hamilton added: "Our staff truly care about these animals, not just care for them". Forman also said that the staff would be provided with appropriate grief counseling in the coming days. In that time period, we've had over 100 million visitors to the zoo. "So, we have a responsibility to protect them". We've never had an incident like that before.