The Columbus Zoo is trying to stop an Ohio woman from reclaiming three leopards, two primates and a bear that have been cared for by the zoo since her husband freed dozens of exotic animals at their farm and killed himself.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says it took the six surviving animals with Marian Thompson's permission but has no legal rights to the animals. It says her lawyers notified the zoo that she will reclaim the beasts, possibly as early as Thursday.

A spokeswoman says the zoo has contacted state and federal agencies in search of a way to keep the animals.

Police shot and killed four dozen more animals that escaped from the eastern Ohio farm near Zanesville last week, including rare Bengal tigers, lions and bears.