Indianapolis zoo locked down after cheetah escape

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Zoo officials are investigating how a cheetah managed to escape from its enclosure, spurring an hour-long lockdown of zoo guests while staff found and tranquilized the animal.

Visitors to the zoo just west of downtown Indianapolis were told to seek shelter about 9:30 a.m. Sunday after the cheetah escaped from its exhibit area.

Zoo spokeswoman Judy Palermo says staffers found the cheetah lying in a landscaped area outside its exhibit but still behind a barrier that kept it out of the public space.

When the emergency response team's veterinarian approached the cheetah, it was calm and lying down in the high grass, CBS News affiliate WTTV reported. The veterinarian was able to dart and sedate the cheetah, which then ran back to its exhibit. The zoo's lockdown ended about 10:30 a.m.

Palermo tells The Indianapolis Star the zoo's cheetahs will be kept off exhibit until it's determined how the cheetah escaped.