Female zookeeper, 55, is killed by Siberian tiger in Swiss zoo while probe is launched as to why she was in the fence at the same time as the big cat
- Witnesses watched with horror when a keeper of Zoo Zurich was attacked by the tiger
- Other animal caretakers managed to lure the tiger away, but help was too late
- The zoo said an investigation has been launched into the ‘tragic incident’
- Zoo Zurich had only recently reopened after it was closed due to the corona virus
- Visitors and colleagues who have experienced the attack receive guidance
A keeper at a zoo in Switzerland’s largest city was killed today by one of the park’s Siberian tigers, which led to an investigation.
Witnesses watched with horror when a zookeeper was killed by a tiger on Saturday afternoon, and Zoo Zurich said a 55-year-old woman had been attacked at the tiger enclosure, prompting staff to come to her rescue.
The other caretakers were able to lure the Siberian tiger – an Amur tigress named Irina – away from their colleague and out of the enclosure.
First responders tried to revive the woman, but she died on the spot.
Shocked visitors raised the alarm after seeing the tiger attack the female keeper at 1.20 p.m. local time on Saturday, but emergency responders were unable to rescue the zookeeper
It is currently unclear why the events took place at the zoo, where police officers were seen in the aftermath. The fence was closed.
The Zurich Zoo is home to two adult Amur tigers – a four and a half year old male named Sayan and a five year old Irina.
The zoo said an investigation has been launched into the “tragic incident,” including why the keeper was in the enclosure at the same time as the tiger.
The investigation is reported to include the Zurich Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Zurich City Police, the Zurich Forensic Institute and the Institute of Forensic Medicine.
The zoo closed the fence, pictured above, on Saturday after the attack. An investigation has started into why the zookeeper was in the tiger enclosure
The Siberian tiger was born in 2015 at a zoo in the Danish city of Odense and transferred to Zurich a year ago, according to Severin Dressen, director of Zoo Zurich, shown at right. The tiger behaved normally, he said
Unfortunately, all help came too late. The woman died on the spot, ‘said Zurich police spokeswoman Judith Hoedl.
The Siberian tiger was born in 2015 in a zoo in the Danish city of Odense and transferred to Zurich a year ago, according to Zoo Zurich director Severin Dressen. The tiger behaved normally, he said.
“Our fullest sympathy lies with the family members of the victim,” Dressen said, adding that the keeper had long been a member of the zoo staff.
The Zurich Zoo is home to two adult Amur tigers – a four and a half year old male named Sayan and a five year old Irina – believed to have attacked the zookeeper. Director Severin Dressen (L) speaks above at the press conference about the accident
Visitors and colleagues who witnessed the attack received psychological counseling, he said.
The zoo, which has only recently reopened after a coronavirus-related shutdown, will remain closed on Sundays.
It is not the first time that an attack has been reported in Zoo Zurich. In December 2019, a crocodile grabbed a zookeeper’s arm during a routine cleaning.
The keeper had to undergo surgery for the resulting injury and the crocodile was shot.