China: Zookeeper killed, forgot to lock up tiger

From correspondents in Beijing
August 01, 2007 09:29am

A ZOOKEEPER in China was killed when he forgot to move a tiger out of its cage before going in to clean it.

Police shot the tiger dead after discovering the zoo’s only tranquilliser gun was also inside the cage in the city of Xinyi, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Zhang, a keeper in his 60s, drove a tiger into an inner cage before entering the outer cage at the zoo in a park, colleagues said.

But he forgot about the other tiger who shared the outer cage.

Police evacuated tourists and park workers after Zhang was mauled on Monday.

China has only about 30 tigers in the wild but keeps more than 5000 in several commercial breeding farms around the country.

Local zoos are often poorly managed.

In May this year, a zookeeper was killed while cleaning a tiger’s cage on the island province of Hainan.

In February, a tiger killed a six-year-old girl waiting to have her picture taken with the animal at a zoo in southwest China.

Two months later, crocodiles devoured a nine-year-old child who, along three school friends, had climbed into an enclosure at a holiday park and taunted the reptiles with sticks and catapults.

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