The animals were killed after escaping to Port Lympne, Kent, which works with the Aspinall Foundation where the Prime Minister’s wife is responsible for communications
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Animal lovers were furious after two antelopes were slaughtered after escaping from their enclosure in a wildlife park.
The adult waterbucks were killed after leaving Port Lympne near Hythe in Kent and ended up on a public trail.
Waterbucks are a type of antelope found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Carrie Johnson – the wife of the Prime Minister, an environmental enthusiast – is responsible for communications at the Aspinall Trust, which helps manage conservation projects at Port Lympne.
A witness said: “My family and I were walking through Hythe Loop when we saw guards with tranquilizer guns; we were stopped and told to go back.
“We heard three gunshots and we were told several different stories by different staff and then we were told they had to kill the animals and not go one way because it would bother the children.”
Port Lympne is a wildlife and safari park that also serves as a breeding sanctuary for rare and endangered animals, run by the Howletts Wild Animal Trust charity.
The Aspinall Foundation, where the Prime Minister’s wife is chief communications officer, helps run conservation programs overseas by rewilding animals from Port Lympne and Howletts wildlife parks to protected areas of their natural habitat.
A spokesperson for the Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve said the decision to euthanize the animals must be made in the interest of public safety.
They said: “After concerted attempts to return the animals to their enclosure, it was felt that as a Category 1 animal they could become a danger to the public and the decision to euthanize them was made.
“All necessary authorities have been kept fully informed and an internal investigation will take place in due course.”
Animal lovers posted on social media in reaction to the shooting were outraged.
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One of them wrote online: “WTF! Again due to the inadequacy of humans, more animals are being killed in an animal park.
Another wrote: “Disgusting morons. They could have reassured them.
The couple are the last animal from Port Lympne to have escaped from its facilities.
Five animals have been reported missing in as many months last year.
Two female pig deer escaped on March 5 – one was injured and the other shot.
A South American jungle cat left its enclosure last May through a hole made by a rat.
A rust-spotted cat from India has not returned to its enclosure after going missing last July.
On August 9, a bear came out of the facility and was coaxed with food.
It appeared that a gate to the enclosure had been left open by a guard who was then disciplined.
There were other animal escapes and guards were also killed in parked wildlife.
Two died in 1984 and 2000 after being run over by elephants.
The zoo, which has been open to the public since 1976, insisted it operates with high standards of animal care.