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Tiger Shot to Death After Attacking Zoo Cleaner That Attempted to Pet it

Officials say an 8-year-old Malayan tiger in a Florida zoo was killed after seizing a cleaner’s arm and yanking it into its enclosure on Wednesday evening. The worker was evacuated to a hospital in fair condition after police said he broke a barrier to getting near to the animal.

Tiger

(Photo : Photo by Tarryn Myburgh on Unsplash)

Third Party Cleaning Agency

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens claims the worker, who works for a third-party cleaning agency, “entered an unapproved location near a tiger that was inside its enclosure” when the zoo was closed for the day.

The zoo stated, “The cleaning business is responsible for cleaning toilets and the gift shop, not the animal cages.” The reason for the man’s approach to the tiger’s enclosure is unknown.

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Interacting with the Tiger

According to the zoo, the guy was either caressing or feeding the tiger, named Eko, “both of which are illegal and dangerous actions.” The man was eventually identified as River Rosenquist, 26, by the Collier County Sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office stated Rosenquist “reached his hand over the cage fence,” leading the tiger to grasp his hand and drag his arm inside the enclosure, according to a statement released to CBS News by the zoo Thursday afternoon. After a deputy failed to persuade the tiger to release Rosenquist’s arm, another officer “was left with no choice but to fire the animal to preserve Rosenquist’s life,” according to the sheriff’s office.

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Tiger’s Assault

Tiger

(Photo : Pixabay)

The victim screamed in pain on one side of the fence, while the tiger on the other side had his hand in its mouth, according to body camera footage given by the department. One cop seems to poke the tiger in an attempt to frighten it away, but the animal remains still. Another cop fires a shot shortly after.

After being shot, the tiger ran to the back of the enclosure, making it difficult to evaluate the extent of its injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. After a zoo doctor tranquilized the tiger, officials confirmed that Eko had been fatally shot.

“Our deputy did all he could in that scenario, and in the end, he took the only option he could to save this man’s life,” said Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk in a statement.

Zoo in Mourning

According to the zoo, Malayan tigers are highly endangered, with only approximately 200 surviving in the wild.

On Thursday, the zoo grieved the loss of Eko. The zoo stated in a statement that “he will be profoundly missed” and that “we genuinely appreciate the affection and support of the community as we navigate this difficult time.”

Also Read: This Indonesian Zoo is Trying to Save the Infamous Komodo Dragons

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