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.

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.

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