Sunday, December 18, 2005

Body in tiger cage puzzles zoo

Body in tiger cage puzzles zoo

18/12/2005 22:11 - (SA)

Tigers maul man to death

Debbie Sauer and Sapa, Die Volksblad

Bloemfontein - Staff at the Bloemfontein Zoo are baffled after a man was found mauled to death in the tiger enclosure on Sunday.

They do not know who he is, except that he is not a worker, or how he got into the enclosure.

Captain Elsa Gerber said an adult visitor to the zoo raised the alarm when he saw a body lying in the enclosure of two tigers at noon.

"We don't know who he is, how he got there, where he's from or anything else," she said.

"He must have climbed over the fence. That's the only way he could have got in there."

It appeared he was walking around the enclosure, consisting of a large roaming area surrounded by a big ditch, said Gerber.

The area was cordoned off to the public and the tigers kept in their sleeping quarters while police removed the man's body, she said.

"He had bite marks and scratch marks and bruises on his body," she said, but added that his body was intact, indicating that the animals had not tried to feed on him.

However, it was difficult to say how he died. That would be determined by a post mortem.

Gerber said the man was naked when he was found. His clothes had been ripped from his body and the shreds were found in the enclosure too.

The man fell about 10m into the tigers' den. Marks indicated that the body was dragged.

Rhulani Shibambu, senior nature conservation officer at the zoo, said no one at the zoo knew the man.

He said the Vuka music festival took place at the Loch Logan island next to the zoo on Saturday, and it was possible that the man got lost and ended up in the enclosed area.

A beer can was found next to the body, but it was not yet clear whether it was dropped by the man.

Shibambu said the tigers will not be put down, because it was not their fault that the man ended up in their area.

He said there was no negligence on the part of the zoo.

He said the tigers were not hungry, but if they were, they would have devoured him. They were fed at about 15:00 on Saturday.

http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1852713,00.html

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