Snow Leopard Shot Dead At Dudley Zoo After Escaping From Enclosure
A snow leopard has been shot dead after it escaped from its enclosure at Dudley Zoo.
Eight-year-old Margaash got out of the compound after the cage door was left open by a keeper, zoo officials have confirmed.
The incident happened on 23rd October but it was only made public today following a disciplinary investigation into the member of staff involved, but the zoo has not confirmed the outcome of the investigation.
Margaash escaped at around 5pm after all the visitors had left the site but once he was out of the enclosure, the animal escape procedure had to be implemented.
A spokesperson for the zoo told Birmingham Live: "Unfortunately, having no other option in the interest of public safety, the animal was euthanised by a senior member of the firearms team with a single shot and did not suffer.
"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 added that its priority was to "fully investigate what happened and carry out a stringent review" of security around the enclosures to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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."
Animal lovers are now angry after learning the decision was made to shoot Margaash rather than trying to sedate him.
One tweeted: "Poor snow leopard. U should off darted him not kill him. One off my favourite animals. The person who left the door open should be fired!!!!!"
A second added: "I have to say I am an annual member have been for years and have always fiercely supported you but this bitterly disappoints me!
"I don't think it was necessary to kill that poor animal, I may think twice before renewing my membership next year.
"Let's hope nothing like this ever happens again and a review of your staff training is already underway!!"
Margaash was born in May 2010 at Banham Zoo in Norfolk, before moving to Dudley Zoo in September 2011.
Featured Image Credit: Dudley Zoo