Tiger escapes, kills keeper in German zoo

2012-08-25 19:00

Berlin - A tiger escaped its enclosure at Cologne Zoo in western Germany on Saturday and killed a female keeper before being shot dead by the zoo's director, police said.

The tiger slipped through a passage between the enclosure and an adjacent storage building, where it fatally attacked the 43-year-old keeper, said police spokesperson Stefan Kirchner.

"It appears the gate wasn't properly shut," Kirchner told The Associated Press.

The zoo was evacuated and a SWAT team was called in, police said. But before it arrived the zoo's director managed to kill the tiger by climbing onto the storage building and shooting it through a skylight using a high-calibre rifle.

Kirchner said it was unlikely that members of the public had witnessed the incident.

"This is the darkest day of my life," the zoo's director, Theo Pagel, was quoted as saying by Cologne newspaper Express.

The paper said on its website that the Siberian tiger was a 4-year-old male called Altai that came to Cologne Zoo from an animal park in England. In November it fathered three cubs with a 7-year-old Siberian tiger called Hanya, according to the zoo's website.

Police said the zoo reopened after Saturday's incident. However, a planned late-night opening of the zoo has been cancelled.

Cologne Zoo is one of the oldest in Germany. It was founded in 1860 and houses about 10 000 animals comprising more than 700 different species.

  • sharonmilani - 2012-08-25 19:59

    human error was the issue but the tiger is also dead?!

  • tiaan.truter - 2012-08-25 20:01

    Human error the cause of the tigers death...sorry but i think thats unacceptable.Why kill if you can maybe you a trancuelizer ?

  • abra.kadaver.1 - 2012-08-25 21:59

    I wonder if they are going to sell off the pelt? I have always wanted one too complete that colonial look in my lounge ?

      mikel.kiparski - 2012-08-26 07:25

      a dead tiger is worth more than a live one

  • darra.pillay - 2012-08-26 09:55

    Tragic. We are confronted with a propensity to be careless on the part of a human, (sometimes major, others minor), almost a way of life for most almost all. We're then confronted with one of the most magnificent creatures ever, one that has evolved into a killing machine, purely, entirely instinctive....... and we punish it with death? Would keeping it alive have made it any more of a danger to humans? But it always was, and always will be! We knew that when we incarcerated it .... an action against all it's instincts. Perhaps this tragedy may be used as a case to determine course of action in similar circumstances in the future. Tigers are priceless.

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