It was a sad ending for a lion that was shot and killed after escaping a zoo in Germany.
The drama began when two lions escaped from an enclosure at a Leipzig zoo in Germany, reports the Leipziger Volkszeitung.
The male lions, Majo and Motshegetsi, broke out of their enclosure and leaped over a moat just after 8 a.m. local time on Thursday before the zoo opened.
A search for the lions led to an undergrowth, where they were discovered in a terrified state.
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Zookeepers were able to herd one of the lions back to the enclosure, but the other became agitated and had to be put down, according to zoo director Joerg Junhold.
Despite efforts to use a tranquilizer gun to subdue the lion, zookeepers say they had no choice but to shoot the lion dead.
“After Majo was caught and Motshegetsi was hit with a tranquilizer dart, we were hopeful that the breakout could end without any loss of life.”
Unfortunately, the outcome zoo officials would have hoped for did not occur.
“This is a very, very sad ending, which I really would not have wished for. But in this case, personal safety had to take priority.”
It took nearly 40 zookeepers in vehicles and three hours to usher the surviving lion Majo to the nearby enclosure. When they attempted to tranquilize Motshegetsi, the lion became too agitated and was shot, according to ABC Australia.
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The 15-month-old Etosha lions, named after an area in Namibia, came to the Leipzig zoo just last month from a zoo in Basel, Switzerland.
The director said the enclosure had been at the zoo for 15 years, and they had never had any issues with it.
“[The escape] surprised all of us because the enclosure had been in operation for 15 years. Of course, we assumed that it is secure.”
Officials are reviewing security video footage to determine how the lions escaped.
Lion Friends Escape Zoo Enclosure — And One Of Them Ends Up Dead https://t.co/lSkGcYbWW4
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The zoo was closed on Thursday, and zookeepers tried in vain to round up both lions. The director assured that the public was never in any danger.
This isn’t the first time the zoo has suffered a lion escape.
In 1913, six big cats escaped, prompting a widespread hunt that ended with all six lions being killed, the Leipziger Volkszeitung reported.
Last March, a tiger was killed at another Leipzig zoo when a partition was removed by accident.
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The incident is similar to the shooting of the gorilla Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo in May. The shooting of the gorilla sparked international outrage, with some people saying the animal could have been saved and others saying the gorilla came to the aid of a boy that had fallen into the enclosure.
Zookeepers at the Ohio zoo didn’t attempt to tranquilize the male gorilla, choosing instead to put him down to save the boy.
Zookeepers contend that the boy was in danger, and attempts to tranquilize the gorilla might have agitated the primate, putting the boy in more danger.
Like Harambe, people are mourning the loss of the lion Motshegetsi and are questioning the safety of wild animals at the hands of humans in zoos.
[Featured Image by Leipzig Zoo/Facebook]