Snow leopard shot dead while escaping British zoo

Credit: Dudley Zoo

Credit: Dudley Zoo

An 8-year-old male snow leopard was shot dead after escaping from its enclosure at a British zoo, the Birmingham Mail reported.

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The Dudley Zoo confirmed that Margaash was shot by officials on Oct. 23, the BBC reported.

"Unfortunately, having no other option in the interest of public safety, the animal was euthanized by a senior member of the firearms team with a single shot and did not suffer,” zoo officials said in a statement.

The zoo confirmed the animal escaped after the site had closed and all visitors were away from the premises, the Mail reported.

"This was an incredibly sad incident and our staff are understandably heartbroken," zoo Director Derek Grove told the BBC. "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 tranquilizer 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."

Margaash was born at Banham Zoo in Norfolk in May 2010 and was transferred to the Dudley Zoo in September 2011, the Mail reported.

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