BEIJING -- A leopard, a species under top-level state protection in China,
was shot dead by local police Tuesday after escaping from its cage in a zoo in
East China's Fujian province.
Armed policemen keep guard near an escaped leopard at a
Shishi park, southeast China's Fujian Province December 5, 2006. Police
shot dead the leopard after they failed to capture it and a feeder
was bitten during the trapping attempt. [photobase.cn]
The leopard was found roaming the grounds of the Yuanyangchi Zoo at 7 a.m.,
sparking off a series of blunders by zoo staff and local police.
The zookeeper, with the assistance of the police, failed several times to
shoot the leopard with a hand-made bow and anesthetic arrow before being
attacked and injured by the irritated animal.
The team then turned to a narcotics gun borrowed by the police from another
department. But it failed to fire.
The policemen, claiming to have been granted approval from local
administrative departments, then drove two cars into the zoo at 2:00 p.m. and
shot the leopard dead.
After an investigation, the policemen were found not to have sought
permission from related government departments to kill the leopard and the zoo
did not have a valid operation license. The animal keepers were also found to
lack official qualifications for raising wildlife.
China's web portal Sina.com posted a questionnaire on its website on
Wednesday to gauge public opinion about the incident and will release the