Dallas zoo locates missing clouded leopard near enclosure

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Freedom was short-lived for Nova, a clouded leopard who escaped her enclosure at the Dallas zoo... only to be discovered hours later on Friday near her usual habitat.

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Although she did not venture far, her escapade resulted in the zoo’s closure as police officers carried out a search, including using drones equipped with infrared capability to scour the treetops.

The zoo said on Twitter it was “thrilled to report” it had located Nova “on-grounds at the Zoo this afternoon.”

“She was located very near the original habitat, and teams were able to safely secure her just before 5:15 pm (2315 GMT),” it said.

Staff discovered Nova was missing Friday morning when they checked the enclosure that the four-year-old cat shares with her sister, Luna, and found a tear in the mesh.

Harrison Edell, a vice president for animal care at the Texas zoo, stressed at the time that clouded leopards do not generally “pose a danger to humans.”

“If you happen to see a cat that is bigger than a housecat, smaller than a bobcat, we'd love a heads-up,” he said.

Nova weighs between 20 and 25 pounds (nine and 11 kilograms), Edell said.

Clouded leopards are native to the Himalayas and parts of Southeast Asia and China.

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