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Dallas Zoo animals escaping their enclosures: A history

Zoo officials embarked on a more than seven-hour search for a missing clouded leopard before finding it Friday. It's not the first time an animal has escaped the zoo

DALLAS — The Dallas Zoo closed Friday morning after a clouded leopard named Nova was reported missing from her habitat. 

The zoo around 10:15 a.m. posted that it was closed "due to a serious situation."

Zoo officials said they issued a "code blue" for a "non-dangerous animal that is out of it habitat." 

During a press conference Friday afternoon, Dallas police said the mesh to Nova's enclosure looked to be "intentionally cut" and the department launched a criminal investigation, as zoo personnel continues to search for the animal. 

This is not the first time an animal has escaped an enclosure at the Dallas Zoo.

Here are the past instances where animals either escaped their enclosures or habitats:

2004: Jabari the gorilla injures 3, shot and killed by Dallas police

Jabari, a western lowland gorilla, escaped from his enclosure on March 18, 2004, rampaging through the Dallas Zoo for about 40 minutes and injuring three people before Dallas police shot and killed the animal. Those patrons received $500,000 from a lawsuit settlement with the city government, in 2009, according to WFAA archives.

2010: Tufani the gorilla escape prompts zookeeper suspension

A zookeeper who was new to the gorilla area broke protocol when she failed to make a visual check of where the animal was before opening its cage. Tufani got out of her enclosure, but did not escape from the building.

She was found inside the gorilla house, tranquilized and returned to her habitat.

The zookeeper was suspended.

2011: Koko the chimpanzee escapes, causes exhibit evacuation

Officials said Koko got out of her bedroom and roamed into a hallway. Zoo keepers were cleaning her cage when they realized she was not in her normal area. She got out of her bedroom, but was still in a confined area.

As a precaution, the Wilds of Africa exhibit was evacuated. A Code Red was issued. That means a dangerous animal is on the loose.

The female chimp was discovered and tranquilized. 

No one was hurt.

2011: Spider monkey escapes from enclosure

Veterinarians had to tranquilize a spider monkey at the Dallas Zoo after the primate escaped for his enclosure.

The monkey got on top of its cage and a code blue was issued at the zoo. Zoo officials were unsure of how the animal got out.

The spider monkey was loose for 30 to 40 minutes, while zoo workers tried to lure it off the cage with food. Once that didn't work, they tranquilized the animal. The area around the primate habitat was cleared as a precaution, but officials insisted there was no threat to the public.

There were no injuries, human or primate.

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