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A rare leopard escaped her enclosure at a Salt Lake City zoo on Tuesday, causing hundreds of visitors to rush inside. 

Someone spotted the four-year-old big cat sleeping on an outdoor beam about two feet from the exhibit, Hogle Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen said.

The alarm was raised and visitors were told to take shelter in buildings while zoo officials responded to the possible threat.

The 60-pound Amur leopard, whose named is Zeya, was found and tranquilized and taken to a holding area. She is expected to be fine once the tranquilizer wears off.

Hansen said they don't yet know how or when the leopard managed to get through the tall steel-grade mesh that surrounds the top and sides of her enclosure, but officials are investigating.

Zoo officials said the emergency procedures worked exactly as intended.

Photos posted to social media show the scenes in gift shops and bathroom as people waited for the situation to be resolved.


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