Monkey escapes at Woburn Safari Park not reported
Monkey escapes and the death of a peacock were some of the issues highlighted following a zoo inspection.
A Barbary macaque fled its enclosure at Woburn Safari Park three times in one day, but remained inside the Bedfordshire zoo's grounds.
The monkey's exploits were only revealed after an anonymous letter to Central Bedfordshire Council, which issues the zoo's licence.
The zoo said the incident had "posed no risk to visitors".
An inspection of Woburn, carried out in March, highlighted other issues including the death of a peacock due to human error and a breakdown in communication.
The peacock was placed into isolation, but was forgotten about and not fed.
- They are the only non-human primates found in Europe
- Most famously found in Gibraltar, but the majority live in Morocco and northern Algeria
- There have been reports of Gibraltar's Barbary macaques behaving aggressively around tourists
- They are also known as Barbary apes due to their lack of a tail, but they are actually Old World monkeys
- They live in troops of as many as 100 members and the males help care for the young
- Last year the primates gained the highest level of species protection at the Cites meeting in Johannesburg
A BBC investigation has found environmental health officer Ben Salvatierra wrote to the park in May.
He said: "I was concerned that the zoo failed to the report the escape albeit it was temporary, short-lived and remained within the confines of the zoo. As such, the zoo breached a licence condition by failing to report the matter within 24 hours."
The zoo has since pledged to report any future escapes within the timeframe.
Born Free Foundation head of animal welfare Chris Draper claimed there was "a systematic deficiency in the current system of zoo inspections across the board".
The zoo, in a statement issued by a public relations company, said it was "saddened that human error occurred in relation to the death of the peacock and subsequently protocols were improved".
- London Zoo launched an investigation last October after the male gorilla Kumbuka (pictured above) escaped from his enclosure
- Earlier this month Marwell Zoo was put on lockdown after two adult monkeys escaped from their enclosure in Hampshire
- In July 2016, a lynx escaped from Dartmoor Zoo
- In November 2013, five wolves escaped from their enclosure at Colchester Zoo. Three were shot dead