Two circus tigers have been shot dead after they escaped and mauled their keeper to death in China in the latest incident of lax safety in the country’s zoos.
The tigers belonged to a circus that had rented them out to a tourist attraction near the city of Nanyang in the Henan province, according to state news agency Xinhua news.
A staff member, surnamed Jia, was feeding the big cats when they suddenly got loose and mauled the keeper, who later died in hospital, the report said.
After the tigers escaped, local residents were evacuated while authorities launched a search for the cats, which included laying out chicken meat laced with tranquilizers, state television said.
But after attempts to recapture the tigers failed, authorities shot the animals dead on Tuesday afternoon.
Cases of dangerous zoo animals escaping and injuring or killing people happen regularly in China.
On Sunday in a separate incident, an animal breeder at a zoo in eastern Anhui province was killed by a tiger.
The 55-year-old keeper, surnamed Yang, was mauled by a tiger while he cleaned its cage, according to state-run newspaper Global Times.
The zookeeper, who had worked at Zhanggongshan Zoo for nearly two decades, was hospitalized on Sunday with scratch and bite marks and later died in hospital.
It is believed that the tiger handler had entered the cage to clean it without making sure the door of the cat’s isolation cubicle was locked, state media reported.