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Alligator missing after new Swedish zoo escape

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Alligator missing after new Swedish zoo escape
08:50 CEST+02:00
Four young alligators escaped from a zoo in central Sweden on Tuesday and one remains on the loose just a day after a leopard fled its enclosure at the same facility, leading officials to suspect sabotage.

Several animals have escaped in from their pens at the Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna in recent days. There are also indications that someone shot an air rifle at the zoo's primates, leading officials to increase security.

Early Monday morning, a leopard escaped from the Asian animals pavillion and managed to kill three rare mouse deer elsewhere at the zoo before the big cat was sedated and captured.

It remains unclear whether a mouse deer born in the zoo last August was one of the victims in the attack.

Then on Tuesday, Parken Zoo was in for another great escape when it was discovered that four young Chinese alligators were missing.

Three of the small reptiles were later found outside their enclosure, but the fourth remains at large. It was still missing on early Wednesday afternoon, with zoo officials explaining that it has likely buried itself somewhere nearby to keep warm.

Later on Tuesday soft air gun pellets were found near the primate house, leading to suspicions that someone may have been shooting at the animals.

"That's the first thought because they were found concentrated among the apes," Irja Bäckström of Parken Zoo told the TT news agency.

She added that none of the primates appear to have been hit, but that the animals would be examined more thoroughly on Wednesday.

Officials at the zoo now suspect sabotage may have been involved in the alligator escape and has reported the incident to police.

Bäckström added, however, that she doesn't suspect that anyone was involved in the leopard escape.

In the wake of the incidents, Parken Zoo has increased security at the park.

Last year, Parken Zoo found itself at the centre of a suspected cover up whereby they reportedly put down animals and then claimed they had simply been transferred to another zoo.

TT/The Local/dl

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