Indianapolis Zoo briefly locked down after cheetah escapes enclosure
The Indianapolis Zoo was locked down briefly on Sunday morning after a cheetah jumped out of the main exhibit area, a zoo spokeswoman said.
No zoo visitor, staff or cheetah was injured in the incident, Indianapolis Zoo spokeswoman Judy Palermo said.
“We want to assure everyone that all of our guests and our staff are safe,” the zoo tweeted.
About 9:40 a.m. local time on Sunday, a zoo staffer noticed that a 4-year-old male cheetah named Pounce jumped into a fenced grassy area next to the primary exhibit. Zoo visitors walk alongside the grassy area, Palermo said.
The zoo went into “code red” and visitors were put in safe areas throughout the zoo. The lockdown lasted about 30 minutes, she said.
Pounce was still in the grassy area when an emergency response team sedated him with a dart, Palermo said.
“As soon as he was darted, he jumped down” to the primary exhibit area, she said.
None of the zoo’s five cheetahs will be on exhibit until an investigation is completed and any necessary changes to the exhibit are made, Palermo said. The cheetahs are being kept in a behind-the-scenes holding area, she said.
Pounce and his brother Zephyr, also 4, are from the San Diego Zoo and have been on exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo for about a week, Palermo said. The zoo also has two female cheetahs and an older male cheetah, who was not out at the time.
The zoo’s cheetah exhibit has been problem-free since it opened five years ago, Palermo said.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)