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Critically Endangered Sumatran Tigers Kill Zookeeper After Escaping From Their Enclosure

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Critically Endangered Sumatran Tigers Kill Zookeeper After Escaping From Their Enclosure

A zookeeper has been killed after two endangered tigers escaped from their enclosure at a zoo in Borneo.

The keeper was killed after he was attacked by the two female Sumatran tigers, who are both aged around 18 months, when heavy rain caused a landslide that damaged their enclosure, allowing them to escape.

One of the animals was captured earlier on Saturday after it was shot with a tranquiliser dart. The other was unfortunately shot dead after it began to act aggressively and efforts to tranquilise it failed.

The 47-year-old keeper was found near to the tigers' enclosure after they were discovered to have escaped late on Friday.

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AFP reports that he was found to have bite wounds and scratches from the animals' claws on his body at the time of discovery.

Stock image of two Sumatran tigers. Credit: PA
Stock image of two Sumatran tigers. Credit: PA

The tigers also appear to have killed a number of others animals, as the bodies of an ostrich and a monkey were also found near to the escaped tigers' enclosure.

There was a large-scale hunt for the tigers upon the realisation of their disappearance, with many assisting the search around the town of Singkawang in West Kalimantan.

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Authorities ordered tourist destinations and attractions to close down around the Indonesian town, as well as warning members of the public to stay at home.

While every attempt was made to take the tigers alive, it turned out to be impossible in the case of one, and it was shot dead as a last resort.

Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, the leader of a local conservation agency, told AFP: "We tried with a tranquilliser gun first but it didn't work, so we were forced to shoot the tiger because it was already behaving very aggressively.

"We were afraid it would escape to the nearest neighbourhood.

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"Although we tried our best to catch it alive, our priority is humans' safety."

A Sumatran tiger at another Indonesian zoo. Credit: PA
A Sumatran tiger at another Indonesian zoo. Credit: PA

After the animals broke out from the enclosure as a result of the landslide following torrential rain, the people charged with catching the big cats decided to leave a load of animal prey inside their enclosure at around feeding time in an attempt to lure them back inside.

They also used drones to aid their hunt for the tigers, who could have been hidden within the dense forest surrounding the zoo.

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A local police chief has been quoted as having said: "We had a hard time finding them."

Eventually though, one was captured after being tranquilised and is now undergoing monitoring at the zoo by veterinary experts.

There are only thought to be around 400 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild, making them critically endangered.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: indonesia, World News, Asia, Animals, Cats

Tom Wood
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