Spider monkey injured, euthanized after jaguar escapes at Abilene Zoo

Spider Monkey at Abilene Zoo...

By Doug Myers & Natalie Martinez/KTXS News

ABILENE, Texas -- A spider monkey had to be euthanized after being injured by a jaguar that escaped its enclosure Monday at the Abilene Zoo.

Zoo officials learned Estrella, the 2-year-old jaguar, had escaped just after 8 a.m.

The jaguar was found on top of the adjacent spider monkey exhibit and then was shot with a tranquilizer by the zoo's vet at 8:19 a.m.

The jaguar was secured in the exhibit by 8:50 a.m. A second jaguar, Luna, was put into a holding area.


An investigation is underway. It wasn't immediately clear how the jaguar escaped its enclosure.

 “The animal did nothing wrong. It was just being a jaguar,” zoo director Bill Gersonde said during an 11 a.m. news conference.

According to Gersonde, "all doors to the exhibit and holding area were secure. The animals have been in this exhibit for over a year with no incidents. An investigation into how the animal was able to escape will begin immediately."

The zoo is now open.

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A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. this morning where city officials will address a "code red" situation that happened at the Abilene Zoo between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday.

"We have had an incident occur with a jaguar at the zoo," city spokeswoman Alaisha Guerra told KTXS, noting more details would be released during the news conference.

Folks driving in the area of the zoo this morning say visitors to the zoo were kept from entering the parking lot and not allowed to enter beyond the entrance to Nelson Park.

At this time there have been no reports of any major human injuries.

Join us on Facebook for a live stream of the Zoo's press conference at 11 a.m.

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