Cambridgeshire

Shepreth Wildlife Park 'tiger escape' alarm halts Easter egg hunt

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Media captionRebecca Willers, curator, describes hearing the siren and rushing to the big cat enclosure

Zoo visitors were shepherded inside buildings after a "tiger escape" alarm was set off "maliciously".

An Easter egg hunt at Shepreth Wildlife Park, Cambridgeshire, was interrupted when the alarm sounded on Saturday.

Staff said it was set off maliciously and that the zoo's two tigers and one puma had not left their pens.

Rebecca Willers, curator, said: "It was not done by accident. The button has a flap over it, so it was deliberate, but we did not catch the culprit."

'No qualms'

About 500 visitors were guided inside buildings at the zoo when the alarm sounded.

The zoo said the incident was over "within minutes" when they realised their three big cats - tigers Amba and Rana, and Tige the puma - were still in their enclosures.

Shepreth has three emergency "panic buttons" in public areas at the eight-acre (three hectare) site.

"The public did superbly and were ushered into buildings, although a few didn't want to leave their picnics," said Ms Willers.

"We do regular drills when the public are here and we have no qualms that our cats will ever get out."

The park said the Easter egg hunt resumed after a break of about 15 minutes.

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