A rare snow leopard was shot to death after a zookeeper accidentally left the animal’s cage ajar and the leopard escaped. Although zoo officials stated they tried to lure the leopard named Margaash back into his cage at the Dudley Zoological Gardens in central England, the cat wouldn’t go – so they shot him dead.
According to a statement from the zoo, the leopard was killed on October 27, however the news and the details were just released this past week. An investigation found the door to the eight-year-old leopard’s enclosure had been left open – “keeper error.” Disciplinary procedures have been implemented and further security measures are under review.
As to why Margaash was killed, the zoo director, Derek Grove, stated public safety is always the top priority.
“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.”
And so a snow leopard died because of operator error. Margaash was transferred to the Dudley Zoog in September 2011, where he lived with Taiga – a three-year-old female. One cub born at the zoo died in 2013. There are less than 8,000 endangered snow leopard species, called the “ghosts of the mountains” in the wild. There are approximately 600 snow leopards living in accredited zoos worldwide, according to the Snow Leopard Conservancy.
Rest in peace Margaash.
(Photo via Dudley Zoo)
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