Firefighters called to zoo to free rhino trapped in tyre

Firefighters have used cutting gear to free a rhino stuck in a tyre for more than an hour.

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo called out the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as their “last hope” after failing to free the juvenile male rhino, which had its head and leg through the tyre.

Firefighters from Sighthill attended at around 5.45pm on Sunday and used specialised cutting equipment to free the stricken animal.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “Crews from sighthill fire station attended and freed the rhino using e-hydraulic cutting equipment.

“The male juvenile rhino had been trapped with his leg and neck stuck in the tyre since 4pm.

“After the tyre was removed the rhino was left in the care of zookeepers and vets.

“One zookeeper said the fire service were their last hope since the zoo had been trying to free the rhino since 4pm.”

The rhino was not injured.

Darren McGarry, head of living collections at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Our greater one horned rhino Qabid loves to play with his tyre, it’s one of his favourite things to do.

“On Sunday, he managed to get his head and a leg stuck while playing and we had to contact the fire service for assistance to use their specialist cutting equipment.

“The tyre was safely removed and Qabid is doing fine. We would like to thank the fire service for their help.”

Qabid arrived at the zoo in July.

John Hanlin, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager, said: “The crew did a great job in a very unusual situation.

“The rhino was stuck tight in the tyre and had to be sedated by the Zoo vets as he was becoming distressed.

“Edinburgh Zoo staff informed me that this event wasn’t the first time he had got himself stuck but he usually manages to get himself out – he very clearly wasn’t so nimble or lucky on this occasion.

“Our crew used specialist cutting equipment which is normally used for the extraction of persons involved in road traffic collisions.”

He added: “Once the firefighters managed to cut the tyre and free Qabid, the zoo vets gave him a drug to counteract the sedative and bring him round – and he was quickly back to his mischievous self.

“It’s not every day that our crews come into contact with such a beautiful animal.”