An eight-year-old Malaysian tiger in a zoo in Naples, Florida, was shot dead after grabbing the arm of a cleaning assistant and dragging it into the tiger’s enclosure Wednesday night, the zoo said.
The man, who is in his twenties, was taken to a hospital and was in serious condition, reports CBS Fort Meyers, Florida’s subsidiary WINK-TV.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens says it was closed for the day when the man, who works for a third-party cleaning service, “entered an unauthorized area near a tiger that was inside its enclosure. The cleaning company is responsible for cleaning toilets and the gift shop, not the animal enclosures. “
According to the zoo, the man was either petting or feeding the tiger, named Eko, “both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities.”
The zoo said early reports were that Eko grabbed the man’s arm “and pulled it into the enclosure” after the man “passed an initial fence barrier and stuck his arm through the enclosure” of the enclosure.
Deputies were called at. 18.26. The first “kicked the fence and tried to get the tiger to free the man’s arm from its mouth, but the deputy was forced to shoot the animal,” the zoo said.
It added that Eko came to Naples Zoo from one in Seattle in December 2019.
The zoo says Malaysian tigers are critically endangered, with only about 200 left in the wild, WINK reports.