"The lioness was less than 10 metres from the visitors. The situation had become too dangerous”

The Planckendael Animal Park says that it was left with no choice other than to shoot dead a lioness that had escaped from her enclosure on Thursday morning.  

Speaking on Thursday afternoon Planckendael’s Head of Security Peter Van den Eynde said "We tried for three hours to get the lioness to return to her enclosure and to anesthetize her, but we were unsuccessful.At a certain moment the lioness approached within 10 metres of a train carriage where visitors were sitting. It was then that it became too dangerous.  Three shots were fired the first shot killing the lioness".

Minister says that killing the lioness was “inexplicable”

The Flemish Minister responsible for animal welfare Ben Weyts (Flemish nationalist) described the killing of the lion as “terrible and inexplicable”. He called for an investigation into the police decision to kill the animal. 

Mr Weyts told the press agency Belga that "I understand that it is difficult considering the safety risks, but I don’t understand where several attempts were not made to anesthetize the animal”.  

Planckendael has said that two attempts were made to anesthetize the lioness.