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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 15:19 GMT
Inquiry call over jaguar escape
Sovereign the jaguar
CAPs says the jaguar was out of its enclosure for more than 17 hours
An animal protection society has called for a public inquiry into the running of a wildlife park in Devon.

The Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) wants an investigation into the animal park at Sparkwell, near Plymouth, after a jaguar escaped.

The big cat named Sovereign found a way out of his pen and into a tigers' enclosure in October.

But the park's owner said South Hams District Council is satisfied correct safety procedures were followed.

Duncan Mee said an investigation revealed the escape was caused by keeper error.

He added that CAPS was not the qualified body to make a judgement and there would be no repeat of the incident.

CAPS said the jaguar was out of his enclosure for more than 17 hours as there was no tranquiliser gun to sedate the animal.

It said it had evidence which showed failings regarding darting equipment, firearms and communication with staff had been going on for years.

Spokesman Craig Redmond said: "The escape of the jaguar could have easily led to serious injury, or worse, to zoo staff and many animals."




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