What is going on at the Dallas Zoo?

Between the “unusual” death of a rare vulture and a leopard escaping its enclosure, the Dallas Zoo has more eyes on it now than ever before.

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The ‘unusual’ death of a rare vulture at Dallas Zoo

The New York Post reported that police are now looking into the “unusual” death of a vulture at the Dallas Zoo.

“We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received as we comprehend the unexpected loss of our 35-year-old lappet-faced vulture,” the Dallas Zoo wrote in a Twitter post, following the initial announcement of the death on Sunday. “Losing him is devastating not only to our Zoo family but also to the conservation efforts of this species.”

The Dallas Zoo wrote in another Twitter post that the “circumstances of the death are unusual” and it “does not appear to be from natural causes.”

A $10,000 reward is now being offered by the zoo to anyone who can come forward with information regarding the strange occurrence.

The BBC reported that the bird was found dead with “an unusual wound” and that there was a “cut-out hole” in the vulture’s exhibit, a little over a week after a clouded leopard had escaped its enclosure at the zoo.

“If it’s related to anything that happened to the clouded leopard before, it goes from being about malicious and gets really into criminal intent,” Dallas Zoo president Greg Hudson said at a press conference. “That is dangerous, and we’re extremely concerned about it.”

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How did a leopard escape the zoo?

Shortly before the vulture’s strange death, a clouded leopard escaped its enclosure for hours on Jan. 13 before park officials were able to safely secure her, according to The Daily Beast.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the leopard had “slipped through a tear in its fencing,” though police have investigated and found the tear to be “intentionally cut with a tool.”

Park officials announced, “We are thrilled to report we located clouded leopard Nova on-grounds at the Zoo this afternoon at approximated 4:40 p.m. She was located very near the original habitat, and teams were able to safely secure her before 5:15 p.m.”

Even though Nova, the leopard, was found safely, the police are opening an investigation into the disappearance, according to The New York Times.

“We do have security staff on grounds overnight and we have some animal care staff on grounds overnight,” Harrison Edell, the zoo’s executive president for animal care and conservation, said. “So we know that at 1 a.m., we have staff who believe that both cats were accounted for in the same spot, but the specifics of the timeline are something that we’re still working through right now.”

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