Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Visitors watch as Siberian tiger kills zookeeper in Switzerland

Witnesses to attack are receiving psychological counselling

The tiger male Sayan in the restricted area at the Zoo Zurich after the incident in the tiger enclosure where a female keeper was attacked and killed. AP
The tiger male Sayan in the restricted area at the Zoo Zurich after the incident in the tiger enclosure where a female keeper was attacked and killed. AP

Horrified visitors watched on helplessly as a keeper at Zurich’s zoo was killed by one of the park’s Siberian tigers.

Visitors raised the alarm after seeing the tiger attack the female keeper, 55, inside the big cat enclosure shortly after 1pm local time on Saturday.

Staff members rushed to her aid and were able to lure the tiger, named Irina, away from their colleague and out of the enclosure while first responders tried to revive her.

“Sadly, all help came too late. The woman died at the scene,” Zurich police spokeswoman Judith Hoedl said.

Ms Hoedl said an investigation had begun into the tragedy, including why the keeper, whose name has not been publicly released, was in the enclosure at the same time as the tiger.

Irina was born in 2015 at a zoo in the Danish city of Odense and transferred to Zurich a year ago, said the zoo's director, Severin Dressen.

The tiger had behaved normally, Mr Dressen said.

“Our full sympathy is with the relatives of the victim,” he said.

Mr Dressen said the keeper had been a long-term member of the zoo staff.

Visitors and colleagues who witnessed the attack were receiving psychological counselling, he said.

The zoo, which only recently reopened after a coronavirus-related shutdown, remained closed on Sunday.

Updated: July 6, 2020 02:05 AM

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