The leopard managed to escape from the Asian animals pavilion on Monday at the Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna, and was discovered missing after a caretaker at the zoo discovered a dead deer on the floor.
The culprit was a she-cat called Kailin, one of three clouded leopards at the zoo. While she escaped her own enclosure, Kailin was never outside the zoo itself and posed no human threat.
It remains unclear whether a mouse deer born in the zoo last August was one of the victims in the attack.
While officials are still unsure how the leopard got loose, Parken Zoo’s CEO Irja Bäckström said catching Kailin was not a problem.
“We brought in a veterinarian who sedated the leopard. Then we carried her back to her home. She only weighs 10 kilogrammes,” she told the Eskilstuna Kuriren newspaper.
The mouse deer are a rare and endangered species which can weigh as little as 1.5 kilogrammes. Also known as chevrotains, the species has primitive pig-like features and has remained nearly unchanged over a period of five million years. The mouse deer is related to both elk and deer and is typically found in south-east Asia.
Clouded leopards are the smallest of all big cat species and are not closely related to other leopards. They are a threatened species and can be found in Nepal, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indochina, and China.
Last year, Parken Zoo found itself at the centre of a suspected cover up whereby they reportedly put down animals and then claimed they had simply been transferred to another zoo.