Extreme flooding in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi has killed at least 12 people and freed hundreds of zoo animals into the local city.
The flooding began when heavy rains caused the River Vere – normally little more than a stream – to burst its banks.
Floodwater rose to the rooftops of enclosures at the zoo, drowning hundreds of animals. Many animals were swept out of their enclosures and escaped.
Missing animals include tigers, lions, bears and wolves. A bear was found clinging to an air-conditioning unit half way up one building, while a man discovered a hyena on his balcony.Three of the dead people were found within the zoo.
The hippopotamus was cornered in one of the city’s main squares and subdued with a tranquiliser gun.
Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said that a number of wolves, lions, tigers, jackals and jaguars had been shot dead in the town by special forces. It remains unclear how many are animals are still missing. Helicopters are circling the city as part of a search and rescue operation.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has called on residents to stay indoors until all the animals have been found.