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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 19:14 GMT
Cheetah massacres zoo's kangaroos
Cheetah Katrin in Krefeld Zoo
Cheetah Katrin is now back behind bars
A cheetah has wrought devastation among a herd of kangaroos after being let loose in a German zoo.

The female cheetah, called Katrin, was freed from her cage at Krefeld Zoo in western Germany, apparently by vandals.


It's good that they didn't open the cages of other animals, which are able to climb

Zoo Director Paul Vogt
She killed 10 of the zoo's 13-strong kangaroo herd - previously one of the largest in Germany - which roamed freely in the zoo's grounds.

One baby kangaroo was found alive in the pouch of its mother, who was among those killed.

The orphaned animal is now being cared for at the home of a zookeeper, but it is not known if it will survive on its new diet of a milk substitute and fennel tea.

Motive unclear

The unknown intruders broke open the cheetah enclosure early on Saturday morning.

They had also apparently attempted - without success - to open up the cages of other hunting animals.

A police spokesman said there was no trace of the perpetrators and the motive for the crime was not clear, the Westdeutsche Zeitung reported.

A zookeeper raised the alarm after discovering the cheetah's empty cage.

The cheetah was subdued with a tranquilising dart - saving the lives of the remaining three kangaroos.

The zoo's director, Paul Vogt, said he was concerned that the attackers appeared to have known their way around the zoo.

But he said the incident could have been a lot worse.

"It's good that they didn't open the cages of other animals, which are able to climb," he said.

If that had happened, they could have roamed much further afield.

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03 Nov 02 | Americas
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