Tiger that killed Zurich zookeeper will not be euthanised

The zoo will reopen on Monday with the exception of the tiger viewing area. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Irina, the Amur tigress that fatally injured a zookeeper on Saturday, will be spared, say zoo authorities.

This content was published on July 5, 2020 - 16:45

On Saturday, one of the two tigers at Zoo Zurich attacked a 55-year-old zookeeper who died. A visitor sounded the alarm, but despite the intervention of a team of guards, the woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the attack. She was a long-time employee of the zoo.

The zoo remained closed on Sunday out of respect for the family of the deceased. Saturday's incident was most tragic but the Amur tiger, however, is a wild animal that instinctively defends its territory, said a zoo representative on Sunday. Irina will therefore be spared.

The zoo will reopen on Monday with the exception of the tiger viewing area. The tigress Irina was placed in a separate area after the accident. The five-year-old female has only been in Zoo Zurich for a year and was brought over last summer from Denmark.

The police are still investigating the attack but initial evidence indicates that it was an accident, according to a police statement issued on Sunday. The exact circumstances of the attack have yet to be clarified but what is known is that the tigress attacked the keeper when the two were in the animal's enclosure, media reports say.

The tigers at Zoo Zurich are cared for without direct contact with humans. In principle, keepers and animals should never be in the same room.

The site of the tragedy remains closed for the purposes of the investigation. Interrogations of employees are still ongoing. On Sunday, the Zurich city police announced they were looking for visitors who may have been near the tiger enclosure on Saturday between 13:00 and 13:30. Witnesses are requested to contact the police via phone at 0 444 117 117.

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