Thank goodness nobody was hurt, but how unfortunate that the wolf just couldn't be recaptured and returned to its exhibit.

A wolf at the Minnesota Zoo escaped briefly from its exhibit Wednesday morning before being shot and killed by zoo staff.

The animal never left the zoo’s grounds in Apple Valley, and no people were harmed, said zoo spokeswoman Kelly Lessard. The zoo has yet to say how the wolf got loose.

The 8-year-old male had to be killed, Lessard said, “because of [its] proximity to people.”

Mary Woestehoff, of Richfield, said she saw the wolf “running around the path” at about 10:30 a.m., prompting her to scoop up her 18-month-old daughter.

Woestehoff went to a zoo emergency telephone and reported the loose animal.

“The guy on the other end thought we were kidding,” she said. “He didn’t believe us.”