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Snow leopard born at Banham Zoo shot dead after great escape

PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 01 December 2018

Margaash and his sisters at Banham Zoo in 2011. PHOTO: Banham Zoo

Margaash and his sisters at Banham Zoo in 2011. PHOTO: Banham Zoo

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A snow leopard born in Banham Zoo has been shot following its escape.

Eight-year-old Margaash was killed by a firearms team member on October 23 when a Dudley Zoo keeper left the enclosure door open, after the public had left.

A zoo statement released today (Friday, November 30) said: “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.”

Margaash was transferred from Banham Zoo in Norfolk to Dudley in September 2011 as part of the European breeding programme aimed at preserving the beautiful endangered species. His sisters, Rebecca and Ziva, were taken to Howletts Zoo in Kent and Krefeld Zoo in Germany at the same time.

A disciplinary procedure has taken place into those involved and security is being reviewed.

Visitors who adopted Margaash were told about the incident shortly after it happened and all keepers were informed to be able to explain the circumstances to visitors.

Dudley Zoo director Derek Grove said in a statement on the zoo website: “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 tranquilliser 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.”

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