Calls to save New Zealand killer tiger as victim named

2015-09-21 10:01

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Wellington - New Zealand police on Monday identified a zookeeper who was killed by a tiger over the weekend, as a petition to save the big cat's life attracted thousands of signatures.

Police named the woman fatally mauled in the Sunday morning attack at Hamilton Zoo as Samantha Kudewah, 43, a senior staff member at the animal park south of Auckland.

Kudewah's colleague Catherine Nichols said she was a passionate conservationist whose expertise in captive breeding programmes was recognised internationally.

"Samantha was an experienced zoo industry professional who had an exceptional reputation following more than 20 years in the conservation and zoo sector," Nichols said in a statement.

Police and workplace authorities are still investigating how the mother of two was killed by a male Sumatran tiger named Oz and details of the attack have not been made public.

The tiger's fate has not yet been decided but an online petition opposing euthanasia had attracted more than 4 000 signatures by Monday afternoon.

A separate Facebook page titled "Help Save OZ" had attracted almost 10 000 likes, with many commentators saying Kudewah would not have wanted the animal to be destroyed.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  animals

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