Blair Drummond Safari Park has apologised to two families who watched an escaped monkey being mauled to death by a pride of lions.
The incident happened when two barbary macaques broke out of their enclosure at the Stirlingshire wildlife attraction.
Although staff managed to coax one of the monkeys back unharmed, unfortunately the other one climbed a tree and jumped into the lion reserve.
A spokesperson from the safari park said: “Our lion warden was alerted immediately and did all he could to protect the macaque.
“However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to distract the lions who responded as they would in the wild, by chasing and sadly killing the animal.”
Two families were said to have witnessed the incident. Both the visitors and staff involved have been provided with support.
The spokesperson added: “We are truly sorry that our visitors witnessed what must have been a really distressing sight.
“This tragic event is being felt deeply by the teams involved who care for our animals around the clock.
“We are taking this extremely seriously; the safety of our visitors and the safety and care of our animals is our highest priority.
“The incident in the lion enclosure has never happened before in the history of Blair Drummond Safari Park and we share the shock and concerns that this took place.”
The incident has since been reported to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) as well as the local authority.
An internal review has also been carried out.
The spokesperson said: “The macaques escaped through the gates to their habitat, which had been opened to allow a visitor car through – the macaque habitat forms part of our drive-thru and the gates are manually operated by a member of staff.
“The staff member involved was not to blame and raised the alarm immediately.
“We have implemented new operating produces and staff training to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, and we have provided support to the staff involved.”