Bhubaneswar: In an astonishing turn of events, Nandankanan Zoo has been declared closed earlier on Tuesday, after a female lion ‘Supriya’ went missing. The sources claim that the lion was once detected within the premise and could not be captured after the tranquilizer-shot missed the straying animal.

Few visitors, who had purchased tickets and entered the zoo, were soon evacuated by the Nandankanan Zoo authority who then closed the entry gate for the outsiders.

The Zoo Director Sudarshan Panda said, “heavy rains since this morning has affected the rescue operation by the forest officials.”

Adding more Mr. Panda said, the area where the lioness was spotted had been encircled and the zoo officials were keeping a close watch on the movement of the lioness.

Range Officer JK Dwivedy was the first to know of the escape of the lioness and alerted the officials. Thereafter a team of 15 watch and ward staff were deployed along the walls to keep an eye. Another team of about 50 personnel were after the lioness who were trailing its pugmarks leading towards the southern end of the zoo called Katurighasa.

Deputy Director, S N Mohapatra said, “we have taken the best possible measure to keep it confined. The efforts to capture the lioness will again resume on Wednesday as soon as there is good visibility.