Police in hunt for escaped wolf from Colchester Zoo
Police are hunting a wolf which has escaped from a zoo.
The animal was reported missing from Colchester Zoo in Essex at about 8am.
An Essex Police spokesman said: "Police are currently assisting staff at Colchester Zoo searching for a wolf that's escaped from the zoo site.
"Officials at the zoo have said that wolves are naturally timid, and provided they're not cornered in any way, do not pose a risk to the public."
Keepers discovered that five wolves had left their enclosure through a damaged fence during a morning inspection.
All but one have been accounted for, although two had to be shot dead.
A spokesman added: "Colchester Zoo's keepers have been devastated by the loss of two of their beloved timber wolves.
"it was discovered that the perimeter fence to Colchester Zoo's wolf enclosure had been damaged and five of the six timber wolves had left the enclosure.
"One of the wolves returned immediately of its own accord and one was darted and recaptured.
"Unfortunately, as they were further away and an anaesthetic dart takes 15 minutes to take effect, two had to be shot.
"The remaining wolf is thought to be sheltering in thick undergrowth and the police are assisting in its recapture."
A police helicopter has been deployed and fields around the zoo are being searched.
Members of the public are asked to stay away from the area around the zoo to avoid hindering the search.
Any sightings should be reported to police by dialling 999.
At 3pm, Essex Police tweeted: "Positive sighting of escaped wolf near @ColchesterZoo and area being contained."