Two antelopes shot dead after escaping Kent wildlife park

·2-min read
The antelopes were killed at Port Lympne wildlife park. (Google Maps)
The antelopes were killed at Port Lympne wildlife park. (Google Maps)

Two antelopes have been shot dead after escaping a wildlife park in Kent.

The adult waterbucks – a type of antelope found in sub-Saharan Africa – broke out of Port Lympne near Hythe and got onto a public footpath.

It comes after five animals were reported missing within months at the wildlife park last year.

A witness said he were walking the Hythe footpath loop near the park when they saw keepers carrying tranquilliser guns.

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They said: "We were stopped and told to go back. We heard three gunshots and were told several different stories by different members of staff.

"Then we were told that they had to kill the animals and not to go one way because it would be upsetting to children."

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A spokesperson for Port Lympne said the decision to euthanise the animals had to be made in the interest of public safety.

"After concerted attempts to get the animals back into their enclosure, it was deemed that, as a category one animal, they could become a danger to the public and the decision to euthanise them was made," the spokesperson said.

"All of the necessary authorities have been kept fully informed and an internal investigation will take place in due course."

In March 2020, two female hog deer escaped. One was hurt and the other had to be put down.

Then, in May the same year, a South American jungle cat left its enclosure through a hole made by a rat.

In July, a rusty-spotted cat native to India disappeared from its enclosure and has not returned since.

And in August, a bear, who escaped after the gate to its pen had been left open by a keeper who was later disciplined, was coaxed back with food.

There have been other animal escapes and keepers have also been killed. Two died in 1984 and 2000 when they were crushed by elephants.

The zoo, which has been open to the public since 1976, has insisted it runs with high levels of animal care.

It is run by The Aspinall Foundation, at which Boris Johnson's wife Carrie Symonds works.

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