‘Tiger escape’ emergency interrupts Easter egg hunt at Shepreth Wildlife Park

Alarm set off ‘maliciously’, staff later discovered

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The Independent Online

An Easter egg hunt at a wildlife park near Cambridge was interrupted yesterday after a “tiger escape” alarm was triggered, apparently by a member of the public.

Adults and children had to be ushered to safety after staff at Shepreth Wildlife Park heard the “code red” emergency signal, reserved for when one of the big cats escapes from its enclosure.

With no drill scheduled, families were told to abandon picnics and come in from an Easter egg trail hunt while the area was secured – though it was soon established that the park’s two tigers and single puma were still safely held in their enclosures.

Rebecca Willers, said the alarm appeared to have been set off “maliciously” – either to test staff or as a practical joke.

Around 500 visitors were led inside buildings until the cause of the alarm could be confirmed. The park has three emergency “panic buttons”, clearly demarcated and spread throughout the eight-acre site.

Ms Willers told BBC News the incident was over “within minutes” but said: “It was not done by accident. The button has a flap over it, so it was deliberate, but we did not catch the culprit.

“The public did superbly and were ushered into buildings, although a few didn't want to leave their picnics.”

“We do regular drills when the public are here and we have no qualms that our cats will ever get out.”

The park added that the Easter egg trail – which reportedly raised at least £500 for its hedgehog hospital – was successfully resumed a short while later.