Hunters shoot two elk - then realise they were firing through fence into zoo

The hunters called the zoo authorities and reported their mistake soon afterwards

A group of hunters in Norway have shot dead two elk - before realising seconds later they were firing through a fence into the animal's enclosure in a zoo.

The hunters called the zoo and reported their mistake, according to a report on The Local news website.

They said the dogs used to hunt elk had found their way into the park enclosure and they had not realised they were firing into the Polar Park zoo, situated in Norway's far north, near the town of Narvik,

Heinz Strathmann, the zoo's chief executive, was quoted as saying he "reacted with disbelief".

"I think this is very sad, and it's not okay. We had five elks, now we have only three," he told The Local.

Arne Nysted, who chairs the wildlife tribunal in Troms County, said there was no need to punish the men, the site reported.

"This is a regrettable mistake made in connection with lawful hunting on the outside of the park," he said.

"It was a fatal error, but everyone understands that it was not done at all on purpose."

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The Polar Park covers an area of more than 570 km sq and while it has enclosures its website says the animals are kept "in their natural surroundings".

Elk, also sometimes referred to as moose, can be found in northern Europe and the northern US. They are not an endangered species.

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