Tiger at Spain zoo attacks & kills female zookeeper

By @vitthernandez on
Terra Natura Tiger
The big cat from the Terra Natura park in a coastal resort town in Spain attacked and killed its 37-year-old female zookeeper on Saturday. Facebook/Terra Natura Zoo

After the world focused its eyes on alligators as a result of the attack in June by a reptile at a Disney resort in Florida, the shift is now on killer tigers. The latest victim is a female zookeeper at Benidorm in Alicante, Spain.

The Telegraph reports that the big cat from the Terra Natura park in a coastal resort town in Spain attacked and killed its 37-year-old female zookeeper on Saturday. By 5 pm that day, zoo staff found the dead body of the victim inside the tiger’s area.

Although the Benidorm police contacted the Red Cross, its ambulance was too late. The woman was already dead. To retrieve her, the zoo employees used sedative darts to put the tiger to sleep and allow emergency workers to get the zookeeper from inside the animal’s lair.

In a statement in Spanish language, the management of Terra Natura said it regrets the death of its employee and conveyed its condolence to the family of the victim. The animal is located at Asian Tigers area which could only be accessed by authorised staff and outside visitor’s view. The zookeeper, who has been with the zoo for eight years and skilled in handling cats and other species, entered the tiger’s area to clean it.

Terra Natura stresses it complies with strict security protocol in handling the animals. The incident is being investigated.

Although there were visitors at Terra Natura – which is an immersion zoo with a habitat for each of the 200 species of more than 1,500 animals – because Asian Tigers is an unauthorised area, no one saw the tiger attack. Since November 2014, it is the fifth kill by a tiger, with zookeepers mostly their victims.

The last victim was Palm Beach, Florida, zookeeper Stacey Konwiser, in April 2016. In September 2015, a similar incident happened at Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand, while in June 2015, an escaped tiger from the flooded Georgia Zoo in Tbilisi killed a man and in November 2014, the victim was an eight-year-old Chinese girl killed in front of horrified circus goers.

VIDEO: Un tigre Asiatico mata a su cuidadora en Terra Natura