A zookeeper was killed by a white tiger, in a rare attack which occurred in its enclosure in southern Japan, officials said on Tuesday.
40-year-old Akira Furusho who was discovered bleeding from the neck and officials believe he was mauled by one of the zoo’s four rare white tigers, suffered the attack on Monday at the Hirakawa Zoological Park in the southern city of Kagoshima.
“A zookeeper was found collapsed in a cage, bleeding,” a local police official told AFP, adding the man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Though there was no immediate word on the fate of the white tiger responsible for the attack, however it was gathered that the tiger was sedated with a tranquiliser gun after the attack, as rescue workers and police rushed to the scene.
BBC however reported that the white tiger was kept alive following a request from the victim’s family.
“We plan not to kill Riku and continue to keep it because the bereaved family asked us to do so,” said Takuro Nagasako, a zoo official said, quoted by the AFP news agency.
Tigers are normally removed from the display pen to a separate area before staff enter. Police are now investigating how the zoo looks after the four white tigers it keeps.
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