Snow leopard shot dead after escaping enclosure at Dudley Zoo
A snow leopard was shot dead as it attempted to escape from Dudley Zoo, it has been confirmed.
Director Derek Grove said the zoo was “heartbroken” after the “incredibly sad” incident that followed eight-year-old male leopard Maargash escaping from his cage.
“Euthanasia is, and always will be, a last resort,” he said.
“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.”
The eight-year-old leopard was killed in October, after a keeper left the door to his enclosure open. Visitors were not in the zoo at the time.
A statement said managers were notified and the animal escape procedure was put in place. Maargash was killed with a single shot and “did not suffer” according to the zoo.
Efforts since have attempted to investigate what happened and carry out a review of enclosure safety.
“Safety of the public is always of paramount importance and our staff are highly experienced and rigorously trained,” Mr Grove said.
The zoo said visitors who had adopted Maargash were told of the “devastating” incident.
Maargash was born at Banham Zoo, Norfolk, in May 2010, and had lived for seven years in Dudley, most recently with three-year-old female Taiga.