Sixteen animals were killed at a safari park in the United Kingdom after a pack of African wild dogs escaped from their enclosure after Storm Ciara caused damage to it’s fence.

The total loss of six deer and 10 sheep has left staff at West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, “extremely saddened”.

The pack of 12 wild dogs were able to get into the neighbouring enclosure in the early hours of 9 February, through a fence damaged by Storm Ciara’s winds.

The enclosure housed Persian fallow deer and Barbary sheep.

A spokeswoman for the safari park said:

“At no point was there a risk to public safety and there was no danger of any animals escaping the park’s perimeter fencing,”

The wild dogs were returned to their compound unharmed, she added.

The spokeswoman then explained:

“The wild dogs entered the neighbouring compound through a gated entrance which had been damaged in the storm which hit Worcestershire earlier that morning,

Given their personal attachment to our animals, our staff are extremely saddened by the incident.”

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the African wild dog is “one of the world’s most endangered mammals”, with only about 1,400 left in the wild.

The largest populations remain in southern Africa and the southern part of East Africa.

The predator also know as the ‘painted wolf’, gathers in packs to hunts species such as gazelles and can reach speeds of more than 44mph.