Jaguar at New Orleans zoo bit through steel fence before killing 9 animals, will not be euthanized

A 3-year-old jaguar at a New Orleans zoo chewed through the woven stainless steel fencing on the roof of his enclosure, creating a hole big enough for him to escape and kill nine animals during a weekend rampage, officials said Tuesday.

The jaguar, named Valerio, was sedated by Audubon Zoo staff after he was discovered out of his habitat. Six animals — four alpacas, a fox and an emu — were pronounced dead immediately after the attack. Another alpaca and two foxes later died as a result of their injuries. The staff stopped the attack by shooting Valerio twice with the strongest tranquilizers they had on hand.

REMOVES NUMBER OF FOXES ATTACKED - A sign at the jaguar Jungle exhibit is seen at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Monday, July 16, 2018. The death of a wounded fox brings to nine the number of animals that have died as the result of the weekend escape of a jaguar from its enclosure at the zoo in New Orleans. Audubon Zoo officials say on the zoo's website that Rusty, one of the foxes attacked by the big cat, died Monday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The jaguar habitat was closed for officials to fix the hole in the fence.  (AP)

Audubon Zoo officials said Tuesday the staff was shocked to see the jaguar was able to bite through the steel fencing to create the 8-by-10-inch hole.

"I'm still processing that the animal was able to bite through this woven stainless steel cable," Kyle Burks, vice president and managing director of Audubon Zoo and Park, said during a news conference.

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Burks said the jaguar’s habitat in the zoo’s “Jaguar Jungle” area will remain closed as officials replace the roof with stronger material to prevent another deadly escape. The zoo did not say what type of material it would be.

"I'm really proud of our team's emergency response to this and our effort to make sure it doesn't happen again," Burks said.

REMOVES NUMBER OF FOXES ATTACKED - An Emu is seen in its exhibit at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Monday, July 16, 2018. The death of a wounded fox brings to nine the number of animals, including an emu, that have died as the result of the weekend escape of a jaguar from its enclosure at the zoo in New Orleans. Audubon Zoo officials say on the zoo's website that Rusty, one of the foxes attacked by the big cat, died Monday.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An emu was among the nine animals killed in the weekend attack.  (AP)

Officials are also considering adding more security cameras.

Burks also said the jaguar will not be euthanized.

"[The jaguar and the animals killed were] as much a part of our family as our human family members are," Burks said.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam