EMERGENCY services have revealed how they would respond if a wild animal escaped from Knowsley Safari Park, writes Nick Tyrrell, Knowsley Local Democracy Reporter.

Lions, tigers, giraffes and baboons are among the range of wildlife housed in the Prescot park, which takes up more than 500 acres.

And newly released information details some of the steps emergency services would have to take if an animal escaped from the park.

What happens if an animal gets out?

The police have an ’emergency plan’ that they would implement to make sure the public are kept safe.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the police said they didn’t have specific escape plans for particular animals.

But they confirmed that the police would work with park authorities to keep people safe and try and bring a ‘humane conclusion’ to any escape.

And Knowsley Safari Park confirmed that they undertake four drills a year so that staff are prepared in the case of an animal escape.

Managing director Edward Perry said: “We have robust safety measures at Knowsley Safari which include keeping a secure site and a well trained team who take part in at least four large scale escape drills per year.

“As well as focusing on public safety, our measures cover the welfare of the animals within our care.”

The last time there was an escape from the park was in 2013, when a baboon climbed over an electric fence after being cornered – it was later shot.

When would an animal be killed?

The police wouldn’t release specific details of when the decision to kill an animal would be made.

A statement said this is because it would allow activists to try and stop an animal from being humanely destroyed.

The statement read: “If the Emergency Plan is placed into the public domain, it will allow activists and others who do not agree with wild animals being in captivity, or who seeing that recapture is not proving practicable, taking action to frustrate the humane destruction of the animal.

“Any actions taken either to frustrate Knowsley Safari Park staff or veterinary action, or the use of police firearms as a last resort, would be likely to place individuals in harm’s way with the risk of physical or mental harm.”

It says a firearm tactical advisor will be on hand to advise if an animal needed to be killed.

And according to the College for Policing there are two circumstances when a live animal would be killed by officers.

They are: the animal represents a danger to lives or property

if  the animal is in such a condition that it must be destroyed to avoid unnecessary suffering – and no veterinary surgeon or licensed slaughterer is available to perform the task or they are otherwise unable to do so.