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Animal escapes from Puerto Rican zoo, delighting and terrifying residents in nearby town

Syra Ortiz-Blanes, The Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

"Are you crazy?" he responds. "What if it hits me with those horns?"

Martínez's husband, Jaime Florenciani, had another close encounter with the aoudad in recent days. He said he was going down the hill of his house just as Rayo Veloz was walking up.

"Thank God there was a huge palm tree, and I covered myself with it so he wouldn't see me," he said. "In one moment I thought he was going to attack me."

He estimates that the animal, who he said was as tall as him, came as close as 8 feet.

"Then he ran off ... and then stopped, turned his neck, looked at me to see if I was following him," Florenciani said. "He kept walking until he reached the neighbor's house."


But the combination of his elderly neighbor's screams — and her small, "Chihuahua-like" dogs' yaps — shooed the caprid away.

Florenciani and Martínez both hope that Rayo Veloz is caught soon and that the zoo's infrastructure is fixed so no more animals escape. The couple lives so close to the park they hear lions roaring and monkeys grunting from their house. However, they would prefer not to host other exotic animals in their backyard.

Still, they believe that Rayo Veloz has earned his title.

"If he hasn't been caught yet, it's for a reason," said Martínez, laughing.

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