Two African antelope escape from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom

Antelope in the wildImage source, namibelephant/Getty Images
Image caption,
An antelope in the wild

Two African antelope have escaped from a zoo, with the owners saying both were now close to being caught and returned after spending the day on the loose.

Borth Wild Animal Kingdom in Ceredigion is currently closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It said an escaped male with "big horns, but not aggressive", had been found, darted and returned to the zoo.

A female antelope, described as "not dangerous at all", is close to being captured, the zoo added.

In a Facebook post published before the male had been caught, the zoo said: "They will run away from people so please keep your distance and call us so that we can contain them until the dart team arrive."

The public was urged to "remain calm".

Image caption,
Dean and Tracy Tweedy bought the zoo for £625,000 in 2016

Ceredigion council said: "This is extremely disappointing news for the local authority who have issued a number of closure notices on the zoo, as the local authority has lost confidence in the ability of the zoo to operate responsibly and safely.

"The zoo operators have appealed the initial closure order and we await confirmation of a court hearing.

"In the meantime, officers are at the scene to assess the situation. We would ask the public to stay away from the area, until the situation is resolved."

Zoo owners told the BBC the male antelope has been darted and returned to the zoo, while the female was close to being captured.

"Something spooked" the antelopes, which caused them to jump the fence of their enclosure, they added.

Earlier this month, the zoo, which has two lions, three lynx, and a python among other animals, announced it would close "for the forseeable future" because of coronavirus.

In January, it was served with a notice to shut its dangerous animal enclosures by Ceredigion council because a member of a firearms team must be on duty every day in case an animal escapes.

The zoo shut completely, but despite no arrangements being in place, reopened in February with the owner saying it would not survive otherwise.

Owners are due to appear in court regarding the closure notice.