It’s a jungle out there — animals run wild

December 16, 2013

Business

It might sound like a cheap sci-fi movie script, but It would seem the state has been the target of multiple attacks — from animals.

In Vicksburg, Entergy Mississippi says a wayward pigeon was to blame for knocking out power to hundreds of people in south Vicksburg on Friday evening.

Entergy spokeswoman Tammy Rankin told The Vicksburg Post the bird damaged a breaker at the utility’s substation on U.S. 61 South at about 4:30 p.m.

Power was restored an hour later. Entergy said 583 customers lost power at the height of the outage.

It could have been much worse in Hattiesburg, however. Officials at the Hattiesburg Zoo say a jaguar briefly got out of its main holding area before the zoo opened Saturday.

Zoo spokeswoman Christy Fariley said the animal never got outside of a secondary containment area off-limits to visitors. She said the public was never in danger, although police were notified as part of normal zoo procedures.

The animal was sedated with a tranquilizer dart and was returned safely to its holding area.

Fariley said the zoo was open Saturday for normal visiting hours.

Rick Taylor, director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which operates the zoo, said the jaguar walked into the secondary area — which is surrounded by a tall fence topped with barbed wire — when staffers cleaning the animal’s exhibit area failed to properly close and lock a gate.

The jaguar did not behave aggressively, Taylor said. Armed staffers formed a perimeter around the containment area and a veterinarian tranquilized the jaguar. Taylor said the incident was over within about 50 minutes.

Taylor said emergency procedures worked as planned. “Nonetheless, we had human error,” he said, referring to the unsecured gate. “We will have to investigate that and address that.”

He said there will likely be some sort of reprimand issued. He also said a review will determine procedures aimed at preventing future such incidents.

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