Animals killed at UK zoos – more questions than answers

Yet more sad news of another animal killed at a UK zoo – this time, a Barbary macaque monkey that escaped at Edinburgh Zoo last Tuesday (5th February) and was subsequently shot. Following recent escapes and shootings of chimpanzees at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (2007) and Flamingo Land (2005), and the euthanasia of a macaque at Newquay Zoo last year for management purposes, more and more questions should be asked about the safety and management of primates and other animals in UK zoos.

The monkey was reportedly a recent arrival from Germany and was in quarantine at Edinburgh Zoo. One might expect that quarantine is the most secure and strictly monitored area of any zoo, and yet, at Edinburgh, a monkey managed to escape – how was this possible?

It is reported that the zoo “tried” to dart the animal on several occasions, but was unsuccessful. Again, this is concerning – tranquilising an escaped animal should form part of a regularly practiced protocol at all zoos – what was the cause of this repeated failure? Did the dart miss, or fail?

Why was the zoo so hasty to use lethal methods to control the animal? Setting aside the highly unlikely possibility of the macaque being infected with rabies or other serious disease, it is interesting to note by way of comparison that visitors can walk unfettered within an enclosure containing 140 individuals of exactly this species at Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire. What risk did the Edinburgh animal pose to the public unless disease were a serious consideration? Are the authorities in Staffordshire overlooking the potential risks to the public at the Trentham facility or was the potential threat of the Edinburgh macaque exaggerated?

We are calling for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the macaque’s escape and shooting, and a review of security and safety at Edinburgh Zoo. But will the full story ever be known?

Blogging off..


One Response to “Animals killed at UK zoos – more questions than answers”


    there is too much of this easy option,do these animal keepers not have emergency practice procedures up and running for such eventualities??The captive animals deserve more!!