A WOLF has been shot dead after it escaped from Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Ember was discovered outside the perimeter fence at the park, north of Swindon, at about 11am on Friday.

In a statement, the park said shooting the three-year-old animal, which gave birth to five cubs earlier this year, was a "last resort".

"She had somehow escaped her enclosure and had made her way to an area that was beyond the reach of a tranquilliser dart, and potentially within reach of a busy road," the park said.

"The safety of our visitors, and the public, has to be our priority and our keepers were put in the unenviable position of making a decision that no animal lover should have to make."

The park added that measures have been taken to increase security checks and thanked visitors for their co-operation.