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Utah's Hogle Zoo reopened after escaped leopard captured

Hogle Zoo on lock down after leopard escapes its enclosure (Photo: Cimaron Neugebauer / KUTV)

(KUTV) A leopard at Hogle Zoo escaped its enclosure Tuesday morning, forcing patrons to take shelter.

2News reporter Chris Jones, who was visiting the zoo with his wife and young son when they were corralled into a bathroom around 9:30 a.m., said visitors were not permitted outside while zoo officials tracked the Amur leopard. School is out for summer and the zoo is in peak visiting season.

What's an Amur Leopard?

"It was relatively sparsely populated, but there were a good amount of people there," said Jones on the phone with 2News.

Zoo employees told Jones that that they cornered the leopard as of 10:15 a.m. Zoo employees expressed concern the animal could try to dart away after being tranquilized.

By 10:30, officials confirmed they had crated the animal and were letting visitors back outside.

No one at the zoo was able to confirm how the animal escaped its cage or whether it could escape the zoo's boundaries.

Zoo authorities believe all visitors and staff to be safe and accounted for, Jones said.

Tensions regarding zoo safety have been high ever since a 4-year-old boy climbed into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Officials responded by shooting and killing the gorilla out of concern for the child's safety.

2News will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

2News' Chris Jones and Lisa Nico contributed to this report.

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