On Air Now
The Capital Evening Show With Jimmy Hill 7pm - 10pm
30 November 2018, 12:01 | Updated: 30 November 2018, 12:02
A snow leopard has died after escaping from his enclosure.
Once keepers saw snow leopard Margaash outside, the animal escape procedure was implemented and managers were notified, while the firearms team managed the incident.
The zoo has released a statement, saying they had no other option in the interest of public safety, but to euthanise the animal with a single shot - the 8 year-old cat is not thought to have suffered.
It happened on October 23 around 5pm after the zoo had closed and all visitors had left the site.
The door to the enclosure was left open through keeper error which has resulted in a disciplinary investigation of those involved.
Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “This was an incredibly sad incident and our staff are understandably heartbroken.
“Euthanasia is, and always will be, a last resort. Efforts to persuade Margaash to return to his enclosure failed and as the animal was close to surrounding woodland and dark was approaching, the vet did not believe a tranquiliser dart was a safe option due to the amount of time the drug takes to work.
“Safety of the public is always of paramount importance and our staff are highly experienced and rigorously trained.”