Two tigers escape from Dutch refuge: police

The Hague (AFP) –


Two tigers escaped early Saturday from a big cat shelter in the north of the Netherlands, police said, triggering an urgent search.

Veterinarians equipped with tranquiliser guns and a police helicopter circling overhead began combing the area around the village of Oldeberkoop where the animal shelter is located.

Police later said they spotted the two tigers around 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and local residents have been warned about the escape.

"We are going to try to bring the animals back to the shelter safe and sound," police said.

Authorities added it was possible the tigers escaped through an open gate, according to the Dutch news agency ANP.

The tigers had been kept at the Felida big cat rescue centre that takes in animals from zoos, circuses and individuals in need of care from possible abuse, neglect or aging.

The goal is to eventually transfer the animals to a sanctuary in South Africa.