Rhino escapes enclosure at Henry Doorly Zoo, guests shelter in place

OMAHA, Neb.-- An escaped rhinoceros caused some Omaha zoogoers to shelter in place on Tuesday afternoon.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said that an Indian rhino was found in front of its enclosure, on the tram path behind the aviary around 1:00 p.m.

Dan Cassidy, Vice President of Animal Management, said the zoo had "a little bit of excitement," noting that the facility enacted emergency protocols. Guests, students and staff were immediately taken to a secure location. All entry points to the zoo were also closed at that time.

Around an hour later, the animal had been contained and the zoo had resumed normal business operations.

Cassidy said it's the first rhino escape at the zoo in his 48 years working there.

The rhino, named Jontu, was spotted by zookeepers coming back from lunch. Staff members said Jontu was seen eating grass in a behind-the-scenes area and that no guests were in immediate danger.

"This is the kind of thing that we practice for all the time, but of course we hope it never happens," Cassidy said.

 
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