Monday, 6 August 2018

Why an Escaped Jaguar Went on a Killing Spree at New Orleans Zoo

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | July 16, 2018 03:37pm ET

Nine animals have died since an escaped jaguar attacked them at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans on Saturday (July 14). But the jaguar didn't actually eat the animals — including red foxes, alpacas and an emu — so why did it attack so many?

The answer? The 3-year-old male jaguar likely went into a mode known as "surplus killing," in which a predator kills more prey than it can possibly eat at one time, said Howard Quigley, executive director of the jaguar program at Panthera, a global wildcat-conservation organization, who isn't involved with the jaguar at the Audubon Zoo.

"It just means that they go into a kind of excess killing mode," Quigley told Live Science. "There's evidence of mountain lions getting into sheep pens and killing 20 or 30 sheep. When they get the fight reaction, they go and make the kill, and if there's another accessible prey, they go and make the kill again." [On the Lam: 10 of the Greatest Animal Escape Artists]

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