The capital of Georgia has been placed on lock-down after the flooding destroyed enclosures at the city’s zoo – allowing a host of dangerous and scared animals to escape and roam the streets.
Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said: ‘Search for animals continues, but a large part of the zoo is simply non-existent. It was turned into a hellish whirlpool.
‘Some 20 wolves, eight lions, white tigers, tigers, jackals, jaguars have either been shot dead by special forces or are missing. Only three out of our 17 penguins were saved.’
The zoo’s press service said that the hippo was eventually cornered in the main square before it was subdued with a tranquiliser gun.
Helicopters are now circling the city, which is home to around 1.1million people in a bid to track down all of the animals.
Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi last night, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. The flooding also damaged dozens of houses. City mayor David Narmania told journalists that eight people were known to have died and 10 others were missing.
It is estimated that the floods have caused £6.5million worth of damage.
Vice mayor of Tbilisi Irakly Lekvinadze added: ‘Dozens of families remain homeless as their houses were destroyed or damaged in the capital.’