An endangered snow leopard was shot due to a zoo keeper’s negligence. It happened at Dudley Zoo in Birmingham, UK where the 8-year-old snow leopard named Margaash had to be put down. According to the zoo’s director, the animal escaped after a member of the staff left the door open, BBC reports.
However, the decision created a backlash among animal lovers. The zoo defend themselves saying there was “no other option in the interest of public safety.”
According to BBC, Zoo director Derek Grove said in a statement that “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.”
The snow leopard is an endangered species and there are just 4,000 left in the wild, sparsely spread across 12 countries. It was found that the door had been left open due to ‘keeper error’ after a disciplinary investigation.
Elisa Allen, Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: “Snow leopards, like all animals – humans included – want to be free. ”
She added: “When animals who have been imprisoned, like Margaash, see an opportunity to escape their dreary lives, they often take it. Sadly, these acts of self-liberation are often their last, as many once-captive animals who attempt to follow their natural instincts are [shot].”
“Zoos are in the business of misery, from taking wild animals from their homelands and disrupting their familial bonds to subjecting them to totally unnatural living conditions. Holding them captive is one tragedy that often leads to another – and the days of facilities that charge people to see depressed and deprived animals behind bars are numbered.”
Margaash, who was born at Banham Zoo in Norfolk in May 2010, was transferred to Dudley Zoo in September 2011, where he lived with three-year-old female Taïga, BBC also reports.