Updated: 2006-12-06 18:38
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.
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 results soon.