According to Reuters, a Zookeeper died Sunday after suffering fatal neck and leg wounds from a tiger attack at a China zoo.
The Zookeeper, while in the process of cleaning the tiger’s cage, reached down for a broom and was suddenly attacked by the tiger he had taken care of for almost eight years. A coworker used a pole to jab the tiger in an effort to save the Zookeeper, but ultimately the man fell victim to the tiger’s unfortunate bite.
The victim is described as being a Thai male, age 42. It is believed the attack is related to the disturbed nature of the tiger during mating season.
This incident is not the first of its kind to be reported this year in China:
In February of 2007, a six year-old child was fatally attacked by a tiger during a trip to a China zoo with her family. According to Reuters, during an ill-fated photo-op with the tiger, the animal bit the young girl as cameras flashed. The tiger’s teeth made target with her head during the attack, and she later died at the hospital.
Zoo related deaths have not just been isolated to China either:
Just last week, as reported by the Associated Press via CNN, a zookeeper in Germany died after forgetting to close a gate. As a result of that tragic mistake, she was trampled upon by a heavy musk ox while trying to provide the animal with its food.
Last April, at the age of 19, Melisa Casco was mauled to death by an anteater. Casco worked as a zookeeper for the Florencio Varela zoo near Buenos Aires, Argentina. As reported by Reuters, it is suspected the anteater may have accidentally attacked Melisa Casco in an effort to protect its young.
According to the Associated Press, another young zookeeper, Ashlee Pfaff, was mauled to death after entering a jaguar enclosure at a Denver, Colorado, Zoo in February of 2007. She had worked at the Denver Zoo for about a year and a half before she suffered the attack by the jaguar; which broke her neck and caused devastating injuries. The jaguar involved in the fatal attack was six years old and named Jorge after George W. Bush. Jorge died after being shot during the attempt to rescue Pfaff. Ashlee Pfaff died at the age of 27 years old. She is described by coworkers and family as being an “excellent worker and a beautiful person.” It is not exactly known why she entered the enclosure with the jaguar.
Reuters Staff, “Tiger kills zookeeper in southern China” May 21, 2007; URL: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PEK340404.htm
Associated Press via TheDenverChannel.com, “Denver Zoo May Never Know Why Worker Was Attacked” Feb 26, 2007; URL: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/11116333/detail.html
Associated Press, “Berlin zookeeper crushed to death by musk ox” May 15, 2007; URL: http://english.pravda.ru/news/hotspots/15-05-2007/91513-zookeeper_death-0
Associated Press, “Zookeeper Killed By Jaguar, Denver Zoo Closes” Feb 24, 2007; URL: http://cbs4denver.com/seenon/local_story_055160800.html
Beijing Correspondents via PerthNow, “Amorous tiger kills keeper” May 21, 2007; URL: http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21498,21767718-5005361,00.html?from=public_rss
Reuters Staff, “China zoo tiger kills six-year-old girl: Feb 22, 2007; URL: http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2007/02/23/china_zoo_tiger_kills_six_year_old_girl/
Associated Press via CNN.com, “Musk ox crushes zookeeper to death” May 15, 2007; URL: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/05/15/zoo.germany.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest
Reuters Staff, “Argentine zookeeper dies after anteater attack” Apr 12, 2007; URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUSN1235848120070412