Cougar that escaped enclosure at Kansas zoo has been found

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Courtesy Ralph Mitchell Zoo Courtesy Ralph Mitchell Zoo

A cougar that escaped from its enclosure at a southeast Kansas zoo has been found. 

A zookeeper at the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence reported the 10-year-old cougar, Tink, missing at around 9:30 a.m. Monday. The zoo notified law enforcement and evacuated visitors. 

The City of Independence says the zoo was locked and park entrances barricaded during the search for the animal. 

Tink was located less than 300 feet from her enclosure at around 12:30 p.m.

"It is believed the cougar squeezed through a small opening created in her enclosure fence when a portion of sandstone broke free from the natural bluff in her exhibit," the city said in a news release. 

A zoo veterinarian tranquilized Tink, and she was secured in her upper exhibit indoor holding facility pending assessment and repairs of her enclosure. She was not injured. 

"We appreciate the help of local media and the public in spreading the word while we conducted our search," said Barb Beurskens, park and zoo director. "We are thankful she was located and returned quickly and safely."

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People are asked to avoid the area of the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence after a cougar escaped.

A Facebook post from the City of Independence said park officials and local law enforcement are searching the area.  Citizens should take extreme caution and call 911 if they see the cougar.

There's no word on how the cougar escaped. Her name is Tink, and she is 10 years old.

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