On Monday 4th March a young female West Caucasian tur – a kind of small, shy mountain goat – got out of its enclosure at Paignton Zoo. The animal was spooked while vets were working with the Zoo’s herd. It cleared a fence, left its paddock in the old quarry and entered woodland well inside the perimeter of the Zoo.
Staff responded immediately. While the tur is not a danger, keepers were concerned for its welfare. The same species of animal was involved in a similar incident in September last year. The police have not been involved, as the animal has not gone beyond the Zoo perimeter fence.
Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “We know that the best thing to do is to leave it alone, monitor it from a distance and wait for it to return to its enclosure. It is a shy and nervy animal.
“It is not large, it is not dangerous, but of course we’re keen to get it back where it should be – it will be alarmed and disorientated and under stress, and we want it to be back safe with its herd as soon as possible.”
The West Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica) is a mountain-dwelling goat-antelope found in the Caucasus Mountains range between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It is listed as an Endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The wild population is estimated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 individuals. Paignton Zoo is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.
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