Growing up with TV shows like Blue Peter and The Mighty Boosh, zookeeper was definitely at the top of my list of dream jobs, so it comes as a relief I’ve discovered sometimes, zookeepers can come to a grisly end neither Helen Skelton nor Noel Fielding could concoct in their wildest nightmares.
First gross bit: a 50-year-old man has been mauled to death by a tiger after cleaning out its cage. The man, whose name has not been released, had been left alone inside the enclosure by his colleague at the Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Mountain Village in the city of Guilin, in China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
A statement released by the Guilin government said the keeper was found dead inside the tiger enclosure on May 8, and officials are investigating the incident. This is the zoo’s second in 14 years after another staff member died while feeding the big cats back in 2004.
But it gets worse.
MailOnline report, previously, this exact same wildlife park was a front for an operation which turns tiger bones into an aphrodisiac – a £400 bottle of wine.
The tiger bone wine is reportedly sold as a health tonic in bottles shaped as tigers, and is surging in popularity as online sales and tacit government acceptance fuel the fans of a disturbing dinner table trade of the country’s elite.
The zoo, which says it has over 1,100 different tiger species, as well as more than 600 Asian black bears, was once one of the country’s largest breeding facilities. According to Chinese media reports, the facility has been closed to the public since November 1.
George Knowles, writing for the Mail wrote:
Tiger bones are steeped in rice wine for up to eight years and then bottled with a mixture of Chinese herbs and snake extract to produce a sickly-sweet 38 per cent proof brown liquor that tastes like a mixture of cough medicine and cheap brandy.
Meanwhile at a different underwhelming wildlife park:
While the zoo has confirmed the cause of death to be a mauling, it’s not specified which species of animal attacked the employee.
Among its 1,100 tigers are South China Tigers (Panthera tigris amoyensis), Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), white tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), and Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica).
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.