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Dallas Zoo enclosure of escaped clouded leopard was "intentionally" cut; hole also found in monkey enclosure

Leopard found after escaping habitat in Dallas Zoo
Leopard found after escaping habitat in Dallas Zoo 00:25

The Dallas Zoo enclosure of a clouded leopard who went missing Friday — and was later found — was "intentionally" cut, police say, and they are investigating whether a monkey enclosure at the zoo was also tampered with as well.

The clouded leopard, named Nova, got out of her enclosure Friday morning, forcing the zoo to close and prompting an hours-long search. She was safely secured near her habitat early Friday evening, the zoo said.

Dallas police told CBS News in a statement Saturday evening that investigators determined a "cutting tool" was used to cut an opening in the fencing of Nova's habitat. Harrison Edell, Dallas Zoo's executive vice president for animal care and conservation, told reporters Friday that zoologists found a tear in the mesh of her two-story habitat, according to CBS DFW. 

Zoo personnel later discovered a "similar cut" in the fencing of an enclosure which houses langur monkeys, police said. None of the monkeys got out, however, and all appeared unharmed.

Investigators are unsure if the two incidents are connected, police disclosed. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Dallas Zoo Missing Leopard Nova
An undated photo of a clouded leopard named Nova resting on a tree limb in an enclosure at the Dallas Zoo.  Dallas Zoo via AP

The zoo reported Saturday that Nova appeared unhurt and has returned to her habitat with her sister Luna. 

She "has settled right back into her routine," the zoo wrote on Facebook. 

Nova came to the Dallas Zoo from the Houston Zoo, where she was born alongside Luna, per CBS DFW. 

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