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Keeper killed by tiger in Zurich zoo

A 55-year old zoo keeper has been killed by a tiger at Zoo Zurich.

The incident took place before 1.20 pm on Saturday, a member of the Zurich city police’s operations centre told the news agency Keystone-SDA.  The keeper was attacked by an Amur tigress called Irina. The animal was eventually lured away by a group of keepers to a holding pen. Despite rapid medical assistance, the 55-year-old woman died.

According to Swiss media reports, several police officers were present at the zoo. The area around the tiger enclosure was cordoned off. The zoo hosts two adult Amur tigers: a five-year-old female called Irina and a four-and-a-half-year-old male called Sayan. Zoo Zurich has been open since June 6 after the easing of Covid-19  restrictions.

It is not exactly clear how the tragedy occurred and why the animal keeper was in the enclosure at the same time as the tiger.  The incident is now being investigated by the Zurich public prosecutor’s office, the Zurich city police, the Zurich Forensic Institute and the Institute for Forensic Medicine.

A counselling team was set up for the visitors and zoo employees who witnessed the incident.

This is not the first animal attack reported in Zoo Zurich. In December 2019,  a male Philippine crocodile grabbed a zookeeper’s arm during a routine enclosure cleaning operation. The keeper was injured and had to go undergo surgery while the reptile was shot.