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Endangered Siberian tiger escapes zoo, shot dead in E China

(Xinhua)

16:53, December 27, 2011

HEFEI, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- A female Siberian tiger escaped from a zoo and entered a public park in an east China city late Monday, but she was immediately put down by police on safety concerns, local officials said Tuesday.

The nine-year-old animal made her way out of the zoo after a zookeeper came to feed her but forgot to properly lock the cage. After the escape, the tiger roamed a public park in downtown Wuhu, a city in Anhui province, and occasionally met with frightened residents.

More than a dozen armed police came and shot the giant cat before she could attack humans.

Zoo officials said the tiger had a bad temper, probably caused by mating anxiety. The authorities said further investigation is underway.

Siberian tigers are among the world's rarest species. The population of wild Siberian tigers is estimated at around 500, most of which live in eastern Russia and northeastern China.

This was the latest incident in a string of cases involving tigers escaping from zoos in China over the past few years, according to local media reports. Most escaped tigers were put down by police if they were not caught. A Bengal tiger killed a zookeeper after escaping the cage in Shanghai last year.

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