Beds, Herts & Bucks

Monkey escapes at Woburn Safari Park not reported

A Barbary macaque in a zoo in Germany Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Barbary macaque escaped from an enclosure three times in one day at Woburn Safari Park

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.

Barbary macaque

A BBC investigation has found environmental health officer Ben Salvatierra wrote to the park in May.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Barbary macaque got out of its enclosure, but remained inside the Bedfordshire zoo's grounds

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".

Notable escapes

Image copyright Getty Images

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