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Zoo chief threatened after shooting attack tiger

The Local · 31 Aug 2012, 12:27

Published: 31 Aug 2012 12:27 GMT+02:00

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The Express newspaper group said angry critics began making threats against zoo director Theo Pagel, going so far as to publish his home address.

"The attacks on the social network have reached a level that we cannot expect our employees to tolerate," zoo executive Christopher Landsberg said.

Pagel shot and killed tiger "Altai" after he escaped and attacked the 43-year-old identified only as Ruth K. on Saturday - to allow rescue workers to reach her faster.

Tranquillizing the tiger would have taken too long, said Pagel, who called it "the darkest day of his life."

Colleagues and police defended his decision.

"One had to assume after the attack that the zoo keeper was still alive," Frankfurt Zoo director Manfred Niekisch told HR radio on Monday. "Our colleagues in Cologne had no other choice."

But it appears she died almost certainly died immediately, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said on Tuesday, as the tiger bit her on the neck, severing her spine, according to preliminary autopsy results.

There was no indication of drugs or alcohol in her blood which might have affected her judgement.

The prosecutor said it remained unclear why she was in the same area as the nearly 300-kilo animal. She was an experienced keeper, and had worked at the Cologne zoo since 1990.

Story continues below…

It wasn't the first time she was attacked. In 2005, she was attacked by a Persian leopard, the Express reported, which left her with bad scars on her neck.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:24 August 31, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
So much hate going around. The internet has speeded up the spread of it too. Racial attacks in Schöneberg Berlin. Attacks on a Zoo director for using common sense when an empolyee was being mauled. Time for people to take a deep breath and chill da hell out.
14:37 August 31, 2012 by zeddriver
@Berlin fuer alles

Definitely with you on this one. It's easy to second guess someone's decision during an emergency after a full investigation has been done.

Take the following quote from the locals article.

"But it appears she died almost certainly died immediately, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said on Tuesday, as the tiger bit her on the neck, severing her spine, according to preliminary autopsy results."

And how was the zoo keeper to have known this during an emergency. Does this now mean that auto accident victims should not be removed from a burning car and the rescuers leave to do more important things "if the occupants look dead" They do and should always assume all victims are alive "until proven otherwise"

That darn zoo keeper should have had X-Ray vision. Then he could have clearly seen her severed spine with his X-Ray autopsy vision. Then he could have given the kitty a saucer of milk to calm it.
14:40 August 31, 2012 by yourkeau
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:52 August 31, 2012 by zeddriver
The next time a situation like this happens. Just call PETA or one of the multitudinous animal activist organizations. Then one of "them" can march into an animal attack scenario and use reasoned discussion to convince the animal to not hurt anyone.
08:18 September 1, 2012 by Enough
She was an idiot for not knowing the tiger was there and he's an idiot for shooting the tiger after the deed was already done.
10:58 September 1, 2012 by The-ex-pat
@ Enough

Words of wisdom from the security of your armchair?????
23:13 September 1, 2012 by LondonBerliner
And what about the safety of others?

I gather that by the time the tiger was shot, it was outside the regular area, and could have harmed others.

It is legitimate to question whether zoos are a good idea, but if one has them, I am happy to be called a speciest in believing that one has to protect humans first.
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