Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / AFP - Getty Images, file
Three timber wolves, similar to this one, were killed after they escaped from a British zoo on Tuesday.
LONDON -- Three wolves were shot dead after escaping rom a zoo on the outskirts of a British town on Tuesday.
Officials insisted they had no choice but to kill the “wild” creatures and said members of the public were at risk after the canines escaped through a damaged fence at Colchester Zoo at around 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET).
A police helicopter helped dozens of officers and armed zookeepers search the area around the zoo, which is situated about 30 miles north of London.
Assisting staff at @ColchesterZoo to recapture escaped wolf. Public urged to stay away from area.If wolf is seen, please call 999— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) November 26, 2013
“One of the wolves returned of its own accord and another was darted and recaptured,” the zoo said in a statement. “Two wolves that had left the perimeter of the zoo had to be shot.”
The third wolf was located and shot after almost eight hours on the run.
Sadly, the search for a wolf @ColchesterZoo concluded shortly after 4pm when the animal was found + destroyed by zoo staff.— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) November 26, 2013
“They are wild animals and in an unpredictable situation they would have posed a risk to the public,” the zoo statement added. It said zookeepers were “devastated by the loss.”
It has been a devastating day for everyone at Colchester Zoo http://t.co/LOcB3frG9t Please see link for Colchester Zoo statement— Colchester Zoo (@ColchesterZoo) November 26, 2013
An investigation has been launched into how the animals managed to escape.