CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo says they have resumed normal operations after a wolf breached its habitat Monday morning.
Jacqueline Gerling, director of communications for the zoo, provided the following statement about the incident to 3News shortly before noon: "This morning a Mexican Gray Wolf was secured by staff after briefly breaching its habitat. No guests or employees were harmed. This incident remains under investigation. The zoo is safe for guests and has resumed normal operations."
Jesse Hudson was riding the tram with his son when a gray flash caught his eye. "The wolf ran by us on the left, then turned around and ran back up the hill," he recalls.
"The wolves were not on exhibit; they were in an off-exhibit area, an exhibit space that we don’t use very often," explains Dr. Chris Kuhar, the executive director of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. "Apparently the wolf was able to get out of that space."
Zoo officials acted quickly, ushering visitors to safety while tranquilizing the four-year-old female wolf named Sarra within an hour.
"We darted her. We did a full inspection to make sure she was healthy and no injuries or anything, and then we returned her back to the building," Kuhar adds.
"I thought it was a coyote, actually. I thought it was more likely that an animal got into the zoo, than an animal that was in the zoo got loose," Hudson says. "The zoo staff did a pretty good job with it. No one was yelling or screaming."
Hudson did manage to take this photo of the wolf while on the tram.
Sarra is resting, while the wolf habitat was closed for the rest of the day on Monday.
In the meantime, the incident remains under investigation as zoo officials try to figure how the animal got out in the first place.
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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on Aug. 18, 2022.