Four chimpanzees have been shot dead after sparking panic when they escaped from their zoo enclosure in Sweden.
The five primates escaped at around lunchtime on Wednesday from their enclosure at Furuvik Zoo, which is part of an amusement park near Gavle, around 100 miles north of Stockholm.
Chimpanzees Euthanized Because There Wasn't Enough Tranquilizer For Them
Annika Troselius, spokesperson for the zoo, told the Expressen daily that the animals had to be euthanized because there was not enough tranquilizer for all of them. A fifth chimpanzee is also believed to have escaped but found its own way back into the enclosure, according to the local news outlet.
The public has been asked to stay indoors following the incident. It is not yet clear how the apes managed to escape their enclosure. Troselius said that the chimpanzees are strong and dangerous animals and the zoo's main focus "is that no human gets hurt."
She added that the deaths of the mammals was tragic but that they did not see any other option but to euthanize the chimpanzees.
Zoo's Primate Manager Mourns Loss of Her 'Best Friends,' Calls Shooting 'Deplorable'
Ing-Marie Persson, who was primate manager of the zoo for 30 years, said that the killings were deplorable. She said that the animals were her "best friends" and part of her "family," and that their deaths had broken her heart. "It should not have been necessary to shoot the escaped monkeys," she told Afton Bladet, "It is deplorable. So poorly done."
Persson added that the animals should have been stunned. When she was in charge and the chimpanzees escaped, the zoo was evacuated so staff could safely load guns with anaesthetic.
The Furuvik zoo had seven chimpanzees. According to the park's web page, it is also the only primate research station in the Nordic countries.The zoo plans to set up an investigation to find out how happened and will introduce measures to ensure it won't happen again.