Update: Colchester Zoo investigates incident which saw three wolves shot after five escaped

Sarah Forsythe, Colchester Zoo Curator Head of fire arms gave a press conference outside Colchester

Sarah Forsythe, Colchester Zoo Curator Head of fire arms gave a press conference outside Colchester Zoo, shortly after the last wolf was shot in a nearby field yesterday. - Credit: Archant

An investigation is being held at Colchester Zoo today following the shooting of three escaped wolves yesterday.

The animals’ enclosure fence was found to be damaged at 7.30 yesterday morning.

It is not yet known how the fence, which is examined daily by staff, sustained the damage.

Colchester Zoo’s short statement earlier today said: “Colchester Zoo management are holding an investigation today, and we have no further comment to make at this time. We thank you for your full cooperation.”

Five of the six Timber wolves living in the enclosure had escaped through the damaged fence, though one soon returned to the area of its own accord.

Zoo staff were able to tranqulize another wolf and return it to the enclosure but by that time three had managed to leave the grounds of the popular attraction completely.


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Yesterday the zoo said because the animals had managed to escape the premises and were in a stressed state they had to be shot dead to avoid risk to the public in an “unpredictable situation”.

“Unfortunately, an anaesthetic dart takes 15 minutes to take effect and may not work at all in a stressed animal so two wolves that had left the perimeter of the zoo had to be shot,” the zoo said in a statement released yesterday evening.

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After a search that lasted until just before 4pm and involved zoo staff, police ground units and the Essex police helicopter, the final wolf still loose was located and also destroyed.

As the story broke yesterday afternoon members of the public expressed their anger on the EADT and Ipswich Star Facebook pages that the wolves had been shot.

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