Barbary sheep escapes from Puerto Rico’s largest zoo

Residents of a Puerto Rican town said they are keeping their eye out for an aoudad — a large wild sheep — after the animal escaped from a local zoo.

The Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo, Puerto Rico’s largest zoo, confirmed the aoudad escaped through a hole in a fence April 15, and has since been repeatedly spotted wandering loose in the town of Mayaguez and the surrounding area.

Locals nicknamed the animal Rayo Velaz, or “Fast Lightning,” due to his speedy running. No injuries have been reported from encounters with Rayo Velaz, but he broke a vehicle window with his horns when he was cornered between the vehicle and a wall.

Officials said the fences at the zoo have fallen into disrepair since the zoo closed to the public in 2017 due to Hurricane Maria. They said Rayo Velaz’s escape route has been repaired to keep the rest of the zoo’s 31 aoudads from getting loose.

Gerardo Hernandez, undersecretary of National Parks of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, said Rayo Velaz has remained nearby the zoo since his escape, apparently wanting to stay close to his herd. He said safe traps have been placed in the area to try to recapture the aoudad unharmed.