Sixteen animals were killed at a safari park after a pack of African wild dogs escaped from their enclosure due to damage caused by Storm Ciara.
Staff at West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, were left “extremely saddened” by the loss of six deer and 10 sheep.
The 12 wild dogs were able to get into a neighbouring enclosure in the early hours of 9 February.
It housed Persian fallow deer and Barbary sheep.
“At no point was there a risk to public safety and there was no danger of any animals escaping the park’s perimeter fencing,” a spokeswoman for the safari park said.
The wilds dogs were returned to their compound unharmed, she added.
“The wild dogs entered the neighbouring compound through a gated entrance which had been damaged in the storm which hit Worcestershire earlier that morning,” the spokeswoman explained.
She added: “Given their personal attachment to our animals, our staff are extremely saddened by the incident.”
With amber weather warnings issued as Storm Dennis is set to hit the country on Saturday, the park spokeswoman said it would be monitoring the situation closely and would make decisions “in the best interests of our animals and public safety”.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the African wild dog is “one of the world’s most endangered mammals”, with only about 1,400 left in the wild.
The largest populations remain in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa.
The predator, which gathers in packs, hunts species such as gazelles and can reach speeds of more than 44mph.
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