NEW ORLEANS -- After inspections, Audubon Zoo officials say the roof of the jaguar exhibit appears compromised, possibly leading to an escape Saturday that left 6 animals dead.
The zoo plans to reopen to visitors Sunday, but officials said the jaguar habitat would still be closed. Officials said keeper error did not contribute to the escape.
The escape happened early Saturday morning before the zoo was opened to the public.
Officials said no animals would be housed in the jaguar enclose until the investigation and repairs are complete.
Audubon Zoo is home to two jaguars, Ix Chel and a 3-year-old male, Valerio. Ix Chel, a female jaguar, was in a separate indoor habitat during Valerio's escape.
Officials said veterinarians had to prepare tranquilizers and position themselves to get a good line of sight on the jaguar once the escape was reported. Once darted, officials said the jaguar was sedated within minutes. Valerio was then returned to his night house, officials reported.
During Saturday's escape, four alpacas, an emu, and a fox were killed. According to a map from the zoo, the jaguars and alpacas are housed in the same area, Jaguar Jungle.
The remaining alpaca, Daisy, is under constant veterinary care, zoo officials said.
Two foxes, Copper and Rusty, also survived the attack.
"We perform drills annually and have protocols for this exact situation to ensure that emergencies of this kind are resolved as safely and quickly as possible," zoo officials said in a release Saturday afternoon.
Zoo officials said they will not put the jaguar down under any circumstance. They added that the zoo passed accreditations in April 2018, and must go through the accreditation process every five years.