20 Oct 2011

Fatal round-up in Ohio

12:03 pm on 20 October 2011

Lions, tigers, cheetahs and grizzly bears have been shot after escaping from a farm in Ohio, USA.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said his deputies had shot dead 48 of the 56 animals that escaped on Tuesday from cages on the exotic species farm near Zanesville in eastern Ohio.

Deputies hunted them in pickup trucks with orders to shoot on sight.

By afternoon, only a monkey and a gray wolf remained at large, said the sheriff.

Three leopards, a grizzly and two macaque monkeys were taken to the Columbus Zoo.

Residents were advised to stay indoors and schools were closed on Wednesday as a precaution.

"These are wild animals that you would see on TV in Africa," Sheriff Lutz told reporters.

He described the animals as "mature, very big and aggressive''.

Sheriff Lutz said they tried to shoot some of them with tranquilizer guns, but encountered problems.

Veterinarian Barbara Wolfe said she shot a tranquilizer dart into a 300lb tiger, which then charged her. A deputy shot the tiger dead.

The farm's owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead on the property. It has not yet been established how he died.

He was released from prison three weeks ago after serving a one-year sentence on firearms charges.