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Authorities in the department of Tarn have confirmed that “an incident” involving wolves happened in the Trois Vallées zoo last Sunday. Nine wolves managed to set themselves free while the park was open to visitors.
Carers had to slaughter four of them and anaesthetize five while the public was evacuated immediately.
Fabien Chollet, Secretary-General of the department’s prefecture, told AFP: “There was an incident with a pack of wolves with abnormal behaviour.
“The owner had to kill four wolves and called on state services to anaesthetize the other five.
“There were not many people in the zoo, and at no time was the public in immediate danger.”
However, the zoo has officially been closed this Thursday for several weeks and will only reopen in mid-January.
Mr Chollet said the closure was necessary “until security conditions return to normal”.
Sauveur Ferrara, the park owner, said in a statement the wolves involved in the incident had just arrived in the park and escaped “after having destroyed the safety hatches”.
He said: “Nine wolves came out of their night enclosure where they were locked up for observation before we decided to release them in their vast day park.
“They then accessed this day park, as well as two other adjoining parks designed to accommodate other packs of wolves in the past.
“So they never left this set of enclosures.
He added that due to “the abnormal and dangerous behaviour of some of them, four wolves, unfortunately, had to be killed by park staff.”
According to Mr Ferrara, the escaped wolves were at no time in contact or represented a threat to the visitors and park officers.
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This animal park hosts over 60 hectares and is home to 600 animals of 70 species, including big cats.
It had already been struck in October 2020 by an administrative closure measure, by ministerial order, due to “major breaches” putting the safety of animals, staff, and visitors in danger.
The park’s website now claims that “due to urgent works, the zoo is closed from December 23 to mid-January 2022.”
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