Tiger Kills Female Keeper In Front Of Visitors And Staff At Swiss Zoo
A Siberian tiger has killed a female zookeeper at a Swiss zoo in front of visitors and other employees.
Members of staff at Zurich Zoo reportedly rushed to help the 55-year-old woman, and were eventually able to draw the tiger from the cage. However, efforts to resuscitate her failed and she tragically died at the scene.
The alarm was raised by visitors at approximately 1.20pm (11.20am GMT) on Saturday, July 4. An investigation is now under way to find out why exactly the keeper had been in the cage with the tiger.
Zurich police spokeswoman Judith Hoedl said, ‘Sadly all help came too late. The woman died at the scene’.
In a statement, Zurich Zoo stated that the tiger – whose name is Irina – remains in her ‘usual environment’, and clarified that information she had been sedated is incorrect:
The incident of yesterday Saturday is extremely tragic and Zurich Zoo is deeply affected.
Nevertheless, the zoo notes that the Amur tiger is a wild animal. A person in their facility is an intruder into their territory. In her reaction, she only followed her natural instincts. The incident therefore has no consequences for the animal.
As reported by AP, Irina was born in 2015 at a zoo in the city Odense, Denmark, and was transferred to Zurich a year ago. The tiger had reportedly exhibited normal behaviour.
Zoo Zurich director Severin Dressen said that the unnamed zookeeper had been a longterm member of staff, stating, ‘Our full sympathy is with the relatives of the victim’.
Zurich city police are now looking for witnesses following the fatal attack, with interviews of employees and respondents said to be still ongoing.
According to a police press release:
Due to the situation encountered, the focus is on an accident. Exactly how it came about that both the tigress and the zookeeper stayed outside is still unclear and is being clarified.
Zurich Zoo, which recently reopened following lockdown, will remain closed on Sunday, July 5, reopening to visitors once again from Monday, July 6. However, the area surrounding the tiger complex will remain closed for the time being.
Visitors and co-workers who witnessed the attack are now being offered psychological counselling.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the zookeeper at this difficult time.
Those who were in the area of the tiger facility on the afternoon of Saturday, July 4, 2020 between 1 pm and 1.30 pm with information about the tragic incident are asked to contact the Zurich City Police, tel. 0 444 117 117.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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