A French zoo has been temporarily shut down by local authorities after a pack of nine wolves escaped from their enclosure during visiting hours, BBC reports.
No people were injured during incident last weekend at Trois Vallées zoo in Montredon-Labessonnie, southern France.
The animals destroyed safety hatches and climbed a fence, but never went outside the zoo.
Four were shot dead for “dangerous behaviour”, local official Fabien Chollet told AFP news agency.
The remaining five were returned to their enclosure and anaesthetised by local officials who had been called to the scene.
“There were not many people in the zoo at the time and at no time was the public in immediate danger,” said Mr Chollet.
But he added that the zoo needed to be closed until security concerns were fixed.
On its website, Trois Vallées zoo said it would shut until mid-January due to “urgent works”.
Park owner Sauveur Ferrara told AFP that the wolves had only recently arrived at the zoo, and stressed members of the public had immediately been evacuated after the escape.
The park, spanning more than 60 hectares, holds more than 600 animals including lions, monkeys and flamingos.
It is not the first time it has been ordered to close.
Last October Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister of the Ecological Transition, forced the zoo to shut down, citing concerns for animal welfare and staff safety.
However a court overturned this decision a few days later, allowing the zoo to keep its animals.
Zoos have long faced ethical issues surrounding the capture and keeping of wild animals, often countered by those who say their existence is justified by education and conservation efforts. One solution is to leave the animals in their countries of origin and focus on protecting them there, and turn to augmented and virtual reality for education. Read about world’s first Artificial Reality zoo proposed for Bristol, UK here.