Devon

Paignton Zoo escaped antelope put down after being captured

Lechwe antelope on the loose in Paignton Image copyright Mike Langman
Image caption The antelope was tranquillised while contained in a garden

An antelope that escaped from Paignton Zoo has been put down, staff have confirmed.

The lechwe antelope escaped its enclosure at the Devon wildlife park at about 08:10 BST.

A spokesman said: "The escape was triggered by fighting between the males in the lechwe herd.

"We have decided to put the animal 'to sleep' as it would have been impossible to return the escapee to the herd, or find a suitable new home for him."

More on the antelope and other news from Devon and Cornwall

The Kafue Flats lechwe was tranquillised and recaptured in a garden on Brantwood Drive in Paignton at about 10:15.

The antelopes, which are classed as vulnerable and threatened by hunting and habitat destruction, live and feed in and around flood plains and swamps.

'Prompt response'

Mike Langman was leaving his house at about 08:30 when he saw the antelope "come around the corner from behind the trees".

The keen wildlife enthusiast said he approached the animal in a bid to stop it running into the road and followed it into Brantwood Drive. Having seen a van from the zoo, he was able to direct the staff in it to the animal.

"Not many people actually saw it - only a few of us that live here," he said.

The zoo spokesman said: "We are grateful to Devon and Cornwall Police for their prompt response and support during the recapture; and to our neighbours for their patience."

It is not yet clear how the animal escaped its enclosure.

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