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Escaped tiger kills zoo keeper
Photo: DPA

Escaped tiger kills zoo keeper

Published: 25 Aug 2012 13:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2012 16:02 GMT+02:00

A woman was killed by a tiger which escaped from its cage at Cologne zoo on Saturday.

The 43-year-old member of staff at the zoo was attacked by the tiger and suffered such severe injuries that she died shortly after being taken to hospital.

It seems Altai, an adult male tiger managed to get out through a security tunnel which was not properly secured and into an administration building.

This building was not open to the public, but there was a window open there, through which the big cat could have got out and into the open.

The zoo was evacuated as police moved in, even using a helicopter to ensure they could maintain an overview of what was happening.

Meanwhile zoo director Theo Pagel managed to shoot and kill the tiger through an opening in the administration building roof.

"This is the darkest day of my life," Pagel told reporters afterwards.

“The zoo director has the right weapons for such a task,” a police spokesman said, adding that the police service pistols would not have been much use against a tiger. "Our guns would not have even scratched it," he said.

Founded in 1860, Cologne zoo is one of the oldest in Germany. It has around 10,000 animals of more than 750 species, and welcomes around 1.4 million visitors a year.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:42 August 25, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Why on God's green earth, kill the tiger for doing what tigers do ... hunt, kill, eat .... I am sure the tiger did not want to be in a cage to begin with ... Hey TIGER ... RIP
02:30 August 26, 2012 by woohoo
@bwjijsdtd I couldn't agree more. That's exactly what I thought.
02:38 August 26, 2012 by quiller
So someone in the zoo adminstration makes a mistake and the tiger gets out and does what tigers do. The next action is to kill the tiger - can someone in the zoo administration explain why such action would be taken?
10:04 August 26, 2012 by taiwanluthiers
Well, the tiger would endanger people... but they could have used a tranq gun. Unless the tiger was positioned in a way where tranq guns weren't possible.
14:48 August 26, 2012 by sally#
The administration of Cologne Zoo is to blame for the tragedy.Because of their loopholes,the tiger could escape from its cage and attack the woman. The tiger cannot be blamed because you cannot ask a prisoner not to escape when there's a chance.
17:59 September 1, 2012 by docofftheblock
Although unfortunate that the tiger had to be put down, it had then acquired the taste for human blood. The details are still unclear as to when and how the tiger was killed. Had it still been gnawing on the, then still alive, zookeeper, the appropriate action would have been to kill the animal. Would it have been returned to the zoo enclosure, it surely would have learned that it could jump the small moat and fence keeping it from the general public. Having been to the zoo several times, I had often wondered how these tigers had not already figured that out.
00:37 September 2, 2012 by Almirante
Here in Los Angeles, our Dept of Fish and Game has had to shoot several puma that wandered out of the hills into hillside neighborhoods.

While I objected mightily on grounds of unnecessary loss of life, the dept made clear that--unlike tranquilizing a bear--tranquilizing a large cat isn't a safe procedure.

The tranquilizers don't instantly take effect, so the scared cat can cover tens of meters in a few seconds, putting everyone there in danger.

I don't like it, but that's the state of modern animal tranquilizers.
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