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Zookeeper Killed By Siberian Tiger At Zoo Zurich In Switzerland

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Zookeeper Killed By Siberian Tiger At Zoo Zurich In Switzerland

An investigation has been launched after a zookeeper at an animal park in Switzerland was killed by a Siberian tiger while horrified witnesses watched on.

The 55-year-old woman was attacked by the tiger on Saturday afternoon (4 July) at Zoo Zurich, in Switzerland's largest city.

Staff members rushed to aid the woman who had been attacked, but were unable to save her. The other keepers at the park were able to lure the female tiger, an Amur tiger called Irina, away from the woman and out of her enclosure.

Then, first responders attempted to treat the zookeeper at the scene, but were unable to prevent her death.

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The cordoned off area around where the incident occurred. Credit: PA
The cordoned off area around where the incident occurred. Credit: PA

The tiger enclosure has since been cordoned off, and police officers have been seen at the zoo. It is not yet clear how or why the events at the zoo unfolded in this way.

The zoo in Zurich is home to two Amur tigers, Irina - a five-year-old female - and Sayan - a male aged four and a half.

The investigation that has been started by the zoo will aim to get to the bottom of the 'tragic incident', including trying to ascertain why the woman was in the enclosure with the tiger in the first instance.

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This investigation will also involve the public prosecutions office, the city police of Zurich, as well as the Institute for Forensic Medicine and the Zurich Forensic Institute.

Police are involved in the investigation. Credit: Shutterstock
Police are involved in the investigation. Credit: Shutterstock

Judith Hoedl, a spokesperson for the Zurich city police, said: "Sadly all help came too late. The woman died at the scene,"

Zoo Zurich director Severin Dressen confirmed the keeper had been a long serving member of staff. He added: "Our full sympathy is with the relatives of the victim."

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Irina the Siberian tiger was born in 2015 in a Danish zoo in the city of Odense, but moved to Zoo Zurich a year ago.

Dressen said he believed the tiger had been behaving normally until this incident.

Visitors to the zoo and the woman's colleagues who witnessed the events have been receiving psychological counselling.

Judith Hoedl and Severin Dressen. Credit: Shutterstock
Judith Hoedl and Severin Dressen. Credit: Shutterstock
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Like many other businesses, the zoo had only recently opened back up following the coronavirus pandemic, but will remain closed on Sunday.

In December 2019, another Zoo Zurich member of staff was grabbed on the arm by a crocodile while she was cleaning the enclosure.

The keeper was forced to undergo surgery to treat her injuries after the attack. The crocodile was shot dead.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Europe, Animals

Tom Wood
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