Staff at West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire met with the horrible sight of dead and dying animals on Sunday, February 9. 16 deer and sheep had been fatally savaged overnight after the staff went home. Storm Ciara damaged the gates of the African wild dog enclosure at the park. The pack of dogs escaped and hunted down the trapped prey animals. Staff managed to return the dogs to their enclosure and clear the dead animals before the park re-opened.
The pack of 12 dogs were housed in an enclosure separated from the enclosures of Persian fallow deer and Barbary sheep. During the storm, the gate between the two enclosures sustained damages. The small and fierce pack hunters raided the enclosed space the prey animals were stuck in.
By the time the staff arrived, the dogs had killed all of the animals in the enclosure apart from one sheep and one deer. Ten deer and six sheep died from the attack. None of the dogs were harmed in the process of returning them to their enclosure.
Once the dogs were safely back in their enclosure, the heart-broken staff had to clear off the remains of the dead animals. Speaking to The Sun, a source stated that the park workers were devastated by the incident. Since the staff work closely with the animals, they are very attached to them. The savage attack left a horrific bloody scene. The sight of dying animals distressed those who care for them everyday.
Speaking to The Guardian, a spokesperson revealed that the escaped wild dogs did not pose any threat to the public. They have been safely returned to their enclosure. Even when they were out of the enclosure, they would not have been able to escape the park.
With Storm Dennis approaching, the park is trying to reinforce the enclosures to prevent such an incident being repeated.
African wild dogs are endangered animals and the park claims that their treatment of the animals will not be changed due to the incident.
In 2012, one of the dogs had escaped from the enclosure and entered that of a lion. The dog was mauled to death by the lion.