ZOOKEEPERS have spoken of their shock at the news that snowy owls have been officially classified as a vulnerable species.

Drusillas Park in Alfriston have four of the birds bosses say they are proud to be doing their part to safeguard the species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently announced the snowy owl was facing the possibility of extinction in the wild.

This is as a result of factors such as illegal hunting, climate change and collisions with vehicles and power lines.

Head keeper Mark Kenward said: “We are really sad to hear this news.”