HAWKESBURY, Ont. – A lion that escaped its enclosure at an Ontario zoo on Sunday evening was killed by the facility’s owner after the risk it posed to the public was deemed to be too high.
The incident took place at the Papanack Zoo, east of Ottawa. The facility is currently closed to the public for the winter.
Ontario Provincial Police say officers were called to the zoo after the adult male African white lion escaped its enclosure. Police found the animal “freely walking” around the zoo entrance, which is an unfenced area.
Police say they helped the owner of the zoo contain the lion but due to a high risk to public safety, the animal was killed just before 5:30 p.m.
The zoo says trying to sedate the lion was deemed too risky because a sedative would have taken too long to kick in, putting everyone in danger.
Zoo owner Kerri Bayford says the incident appears to have involved a case of human error.
“We have already been reaching out to other experts in the field to go over our current policies and protocols and exhibit designs to ensure that an incident such as this will not happen again,” Bayford said. “Our staff couldn’t be more upset about this.”
Police say no people or other animals were injured during the incident.