Margaash, an eight-year-old snow leopard, has been shot dead after escaping from an enclosure at Dudley Zoo.
The animal, which belongs to the threatened species originating from Central and South Asia, was able to break away from his cage after one of the zoo keepers left the compound open.
Although Margaash was shot back in October, details of the incident have only just been released due to a disciplinary investigation.
A spokesman for Dudley Zoo told Birmingham Live: “Unfortunately, having no other option in the interest of public safety, the animal was euthanised by a senior member of the firearms team with a single shot and did not suffer.
“Once keepers saw snow leopard Margaash outside, the animal escape procedure was implemented and managers were notified, while the firearms team managed the incident.”
The zoo has continued to say its current priority is to ‘fully investigate what happened and carry out a stringent review’ on all security at the animal compound and enclosures.
The zoo says all those involved with the death of Margaash are currently under review as euthanising an animal is always the last resort.
Zoo director Derek Grove said: “This was an incredibly sad incident and our staff are understandably heartbroken. Euthanasia is, and always will be, a last resort.
“Efforts to persuade Margaash to return to his enclosure failed and as the animal was close to surrounding woodland and dark was approaching, the vet did not believe a tranquiliser dart was a safe option due to the amount of time the drug takes to work.
“Safety of the public is always of paramount importance and our staff are highly experienced and rigorously trained.”
The male snow leopard had always lived in captivity before his death – he was born in Banham Zoo in Norfolk back in May 2010 before being relocated to Dudley in 2011. He lived with a three-year-old female snow leopard, called Taïga, until his death.