Cotswold Wildlife Park has launched an international event to recognise the role played by animals in wars and conflicts.

Animal and service organisations from Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, France, and the UK have come together to show respect to the animals that served in various wars.

The inaugural International War Animal Day was held on February 24.

At 11am, flags were flown, knitted poppy wreaths laid and purple candles lit to honour millions of animals that have served alongside soldiers.

The UK's Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has pledged his support for the aim to acknowledge February 24 as the day that nations come together to reflect on the many roles that animals have played in wars.

Animals including more than 16 million horses, camels, dogs and pigeons played diverse roles such as transport and communication during the First World War.

These animals were often taken from their homes and few returned.

Alan Carr, co-founder of The War Horse Memorial said: "It starts with simple remembrance – the flying of the International War Animal Day flag, the laying of a wreath of knitted purple poppies or just the lighting of a candle – but we believe that in time, it will be so much more."

The UK will use this day to launch the 2024 Animal Purple Poppy Fund with pin badges and knitted poppies available from their website.