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Wolf shot dead after escaping from enclosure just months after becoming new mum

Ember escaped the Park on Friday evening and was shot dead. Photo: Jackie Thomas

An escaped wolf has been shot dead by keepers just months after giving birth to cubs, the first to be born at the wildlife park in its 47 year history.

Ember managed to get out of her enclosure at Cotswold Wildlife Park and staff say they tried to tranquilise her but the new mum was out of range.

The three-year-old Eurasian wolf was found wandering just outside the park's perimeter towards the A361. Park visitors were told to stay indoors as a precaution but keepers insist the animal did not pose a danger.

Despite this armed zookeepers were scrambled and Ember was shot dead. An investigation is underway to determine how the wolf broke free from her enclosure.

Keepers were not expecting Ash and Ember to get on so well so quickly but little ones were soon running around. Credit: Jackie Thomas

A post on the Park's Facebook page reads:

Had there been any way to save her we would, of course, have taken it. Euthanasia is, and always would be, our last resort.

However, she had somehow escaped her enclosure and had made her way to an area that was beyond the range of a tranquiliser dart, and potentially within reach of a busy road. The safety of our visitors, and the public, has to be our priority. We have taken measures to increase our already robust enclosure security checks, to ensure there can be no repeat.

We would also like to honour Ember and the pleasure she gave to so many visitors. Her death is felt by all who had the pleasure to know her."

– Cotswold Wildlife Park spokesperson
Five cubs were born to first time parents Ash and Ember in May. Credit: Jackie Thomas

Two-year-old Ash and three-year-old Ember are recent arrivals at Cotswold Wildlife Park. They were both born in Sweden and came to the UK as part of a breeding programme.

Although from different places in their home country, the pair became first-time parents in May this year, producing five cubs.

The healthy pups, currently unnamed, were an unexpected but welcome addition to the collection, say park staff.

At no time were members of the public in any danger as the wolf was away from the visitor area throughout. To say we are devastated is an understatement.

– Debbie Ryan, Cotswold Wildlife Park spokeswoman