One of the wolves at Combe Martin Wildlife Park.
A WOLF escaped from Combe Martin Wildlife Park on Monday after gnawing her way out of her enclosure — but park officials insist neither the wolf or public were put in any danger at any point.
It is thought the female wolf, who lived in an enclosure with two other wolves became frightened, and bit her way through the thick wire enclosure in a fit of terror.
She was spotted by a member of the public by the roadside outside the park, who then raised the alarm.
But Combe Martin Wildlife Park spokesman Kat Whitehouse-Tedd said: "During the incident, park authorities said at no time had the wolf posed any sort of threat to humans or other animals and had not been in any danger herself."
Mrs Whitehouse-Tedd said: "We think she'd been digging, trying to get out, but she obviously couldn't because the wire goes right under the enclosure, so she chewed her way through.
"We think something must have spooked her but we don't know what."
The two other wolves who lived in the same enclosure made no attempt to escape, and Mrs Whitehouse-Tedd said the female wolf was pacing the outside of the enclosure when staff found her searching for her way back in.
Mrs Whitehouse-Tedd added: "She's obviously had quite a fright, we don't know what it is, but we've moved her to another enclosure now, and we're currently looking to re-home her elsewhere."
Mrs Whitehouse-Tedd said all the enclosures were checked last thing on Sunday evening, and nothing was wrong with the wolves, so the incident must have happened overnight on Sunday, to Monday morning.
The Wildlife Park became aware the wolf was missing when a member of the public drove past and spotted the wolf by the road.
Mrs Whitehouse-Tedd said: "We estimate she would have been outside the zoo perimeter for around half an hour. As soon as we got the alert we deployed a firearms team, a vet, and Shaun Ellis who owns the wolves.
"But as soon as we were sure it was safe and there was no need to shoot her, we called for the vet to use the anaesthetic dart gun.
"We don't chase the animals — it freaks them out — we have an emergency procedure in place for a code red escape, and we needed lots of personnel in place to surround and watch the animal.
"I was very proud of my team and the way they dealt with this."
Once the vet arrived a dart gun was used to anaesthetise her and she was recaptured without injury.
North Devon Council was informed, as is normal when any captive animal leaves its containment.