Zoo worker falls into tiger cage, is mauled to death

15:09, October 15, 2010      

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An analog of the incident. (Photo by Yang Zhicheng)

Five Siberian tigers in a Shenzhen wildlife park ripped apart and killed a 54-year-old zoo worker, who slipped and fell into the tigers habitat after cleaning weeds at the corridor bridge above at about 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 14, Guangzhou Daily reported.

Incident under investigation

Huang Xianda, the vice general manager of the park, said they had bought insurance for the dead man, and they would coordinate the plan of indemnity with his family. At this time, the reason the man climbed over the guard bars is still under investigation.

It is learned that the dead man, whose name is Sheng Jinhua, comes from Shaoxing of Zhejiang Province and his wife is not living in Shenzhen with him. After the tragedy happened, two of Sheng's relatives showed up in the park yesterday afternoon, and one of them said he was Sheng's brother-in-law. In addition, Sheng's wife will arrive in Shenzhen today.

The Shengzhen Wildlife Park.(Photo by Lin Liangtian)

Killing may be related to starvation

An experienced tiger handler said that usually artificially-fed tigers are well-tempered and will not attack under normal circumstances if they come into contact with humans, but sometimes they also attack people and even other peer tigers due to starvation.

In 2007, three adult Siberian tigers killed another tiger in Shenyang. And experts said it was due to starvation in the early winter.

File photo.

Victim's death may be due to own mistake

Zheng Chaolun, the office director of Shenzhen Wildlife Park, said Sheng came to work as a weed sweeper in the park only less than three months ago, and he was doing his job alone at the corridor bridge above the beasts when the tragedy happened.

"If he had done his work according to regulations and not climbed over the guard bars, he would not have died," Zheng said.

He also added that rules state workers were not permitted to work alone.

In the park, there was a tiger feeder who saw the whole tragedy. He said he saw Sheng climb over the guard bars and slip into the tiger habitat, but he did not know what really happened at the time because of the distance between him and Sheng.

After seeing this, the feeder fired a bunch of firecrackers as soon as possible to scare away tigers, which were ripping into Sheng's body. Then he drove a car to the spot and found that Sheng was already dead.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online


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