Lion fatally shot after escaping Ottawa-area zoo

A lion was fatally shot after escaping from its enclosure at a small zoo east of Ottawa over the weekend.

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On Sunday evening, the adult male white lion got out of its pen at the Papanack Park Zoo, a small facility located approximately 50 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa, in Wendover, Ont.

The zoo posted on Facebook that Ontario Provincial Police were called after the lion was spotted wandering in an unfenced portion of the location.

Although the zoo is closed during the winter, zoo staff decided it would be too dangerous not to act immediately.

Zoo representative Kerri Bayford wrote that, "within minutes," staff made the decision to euthanize the lion.

"The risk to the public of trying to sedate the lion was simply too high as the sedative takes too long to kick in and this would have put everyone at risk," Bayford wrote.

Bayford did not provide details of how the lion escaped, but said that it appeared that "human error" was to blame. She wrote that zoo owners will be speaking to all staff members to determine exactly what happened, and will provide a full statement when they have more information.

"Futhermore, we have started doing a full audit of all of our large carnivore exhibits," Bayford wrote.

She said the zoo is reaching out to other experts in the field to discuss protocols and exhibit design, to ensure that the incident doesn't happen again.

"Our staff couldn't be more upset about this," she wrote on Facebook.



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