A 56-year-old zookeeper was killed by a rare South China tiger on Tuesday when he had entered its enclosure at the Shanghai Zoo to clean it, officials said.
The zoo and Municipal Landscaping Administration are still investigating the cause of the attack. Administration said the nine-year-old male tiger had no previous record of aggression against people, and the attack occurred at the breeding facility where safety procedures are in place.
The man, surnamed Zhou, had reportedly entered the enclosure to clean it and “did not come out again,” according to colleagues. Zhou had over 30 years of experience working in the zoo, reports say.
The South China tiger, native to provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Back in 2010, a Bengal tiger at the same zoo in Shanghai’s Changning district mauled his keeper, “dragging his body around his cage as visitors looked on in horror” after someone had forgotten to feed the tiger the day before. In that case, the tiger was kept in isolation for some time but was later reintroduced.
[Images via news.sina.com]