Saturday, February 24, 2007

Denver Zoo keeper mauled to death by jaguar

By Kirk Mitchell
Denver Post Staff Writer
Denver Post

Article Last Updated: 02/24/2007 04:58:04 PM MST

A jaguar mauled a Denver zookeeper to death today at about 11:30 a.m. as she was working inside the animal's cage, officials say.

The employee, whose identity was not released, was taken to Denver Health Medical Center, but died from her injuries, said Sonny Jackson, Denver police spokesman.

Zookeepers who entered the jaguar's enclosure to rescue the injured worker shot the animal to death when it approached them, said Tiffany Barnhart, zoo spokeswoman.

Police are investigating the mauling, said Sonny Jackson, Denver police spokesman.

"Any time you have an accident under unusual circumstances, we do an investigation," Jackson said.

The incident occurred within the animal's exhibit and at no time was the public in any danger, Barnhart said. The zoo was closed after the incident, she said.

"Denver Zoo's top priority is the safety and well-being of our guests, employees and animals," Barnhart said.

The jaguar came to Denver from Santa Cruz Zoo, Bolivia, in March of 2005, she said. The cat is approximately six years old.

The jaguar is the third largest cat in the world behind the tiger and lion, according to the zoo's website.

"Yet, they have the most powerful jaw of all the big cats," the zoo website says. "The jaguar's coat has many rosette like markings that help them to blend into the forest. In addition they have shorter legs for running and jumping through thick jungles."

The cat is on the endangered species list because of decreasing numbers of them in the wild, the website says.

"The largest concerns for the jaguars are their loss of habitat and poachers," the zoo reports.

Staff writer Kirk Mitchell can be reached at 303-954-1206 or

Friday, February 23, 2007

China: Tiger kills child during photo session

Friday Feb 23 14:45 AEDT

A six-year-old girl was mauled to death by a perfoming tiger at a zoo in China as she was being photographed with the animal, state press said.

The attack occurred Thursday at the Kunming Zoo in Yunnan province. The animal lunged at the girl's head when a flashbulb went off as the child was being photographed, the Kunming Daily reported.

The tiger held the child's head in its mouth for over a minute as frantic trainers beat the animal with clubs and a chair, trying to force it to let go of the girl, identified as Rui Xin.

She was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead with a crushed skull. Her mother was also bitten on the arm.

The male tiger had been performing at the zoo since May 2005, the paper said. Visitors paid around $2.40 for a photo with the animal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Woman mauled to death by cheetahs at Belgian zoo

The Associated Press
Monday, February 12, 2007

An animal lover was mauled to death by cheetahs at a zoo in northern Belgium, authorities and zoo officials said Monday.

It was unclear why Karen Aerts, 37, entered the cheetah cage late Sunday, Olmense Zoo spokesman Jan Libot said. She was found dead in the cage, Libot told VTM television.

Aerts, from the city of Antwerp, was a regular visitor to the zoo, which is 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Brussels.

One of the cats that killed her was named Bongo. Aerts had adopted Bongo under a special program, paying for food for the cat, Libot said.

"Karen loved animals. Unfortunately the cheetahs betrayed her trust," he said.

Police said they were investigating why Aerts entered the cage, but ruled out any foul play.

They believe she hid somewhere in the park after it closed and managed to find the keys to the cheetah cage.

Animal rights group GAIA called for the immediate closure of the zoo, saying it was unsafe for both visitors and for the cats it is home to.

Rudy Demotte, Belgian minister responsible for animal welfare, has sent a team of inspectors to investigate. EU-GEN-Belgium-Cheetah-Attack.php

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Man mauled by tiger at Bangladesh zoo

Scuffle with tiger at Dhaka Zoo
Staff Correspondent

Panic gripped the visitors at Dhaka Zoo yesterday noon when a Royal Bengal Tiger attacked its food provider inside the cage, came out of it and roamed the zoo premises for about half an hour.

The victim, Mujibar Rahman Sheikh, 40, employee of an animal food supply contractor at the zoo, narrowly survived with injuries to his arms, thighs, neck and chest.

Scores of people including women and children were seen running helter skelter for safety as they found the majestic animal out of its cage. As the news spread like wildfire, hundreds of people who went to the zoo with their families on the weekend tried to hide wherever they could or raced out.

Narrating the incident, Mujibar said just as on other days, he went to Sanjoy's (the tiger) cage yesterday noon to provide him meat.

"The tiger usually stays inside its second cage when food is given. But today (yesterday) somehow it was in the first cage, and we did not notice that," said Mujibar.

Abdul Khalek, a zoo staff, opened the gate of the first cage, Mujibar said. "We entered it and kept meat on the floor. The tiger suddenly jumped on me."

In no time, both ran out of the cage but the tiger followed them and attacked Mujibar with its claws.

In a desperate bid to save his life, horrified Mujibar scuffled with the tiger for a few minutes. Zoo officials Shajahan Khan Tuhin and Ratan Kumar Mondol were also present there.

People around the cage first ran away as the tiger rushed out of it but after a while, some courageous ones including zoo staffs and visitors came forward to rescue him, Mujibar said. "They threw brick bats at the tiger, and it fled toward the cage of a tapir nearby and hid behind it.

"Then we used tranquilliser gun to make the tiger unconscious and carried it back to the cage. It took 14 people to carry the animal," said Kazi Fazlul Haque, curator of the zoo.

Three-metre long Sanjoy was born in the zoo in 1984.

Mujibar was first admitted to a local clinic and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Earlier, a zoo tiger killed a visitor child in 1996 when he went close to its cage and a bear killed a zoo staff in 2004.

Besides, a lion moved out of its cage a few years ago but the zoo authorities caged it back without any incident.

Escaped "pet" serval recaptured in Louisiana


We have good news about the runaway feline. Shreveport residents in the Broadmoor area have been keeping their eyes out for an exotic cat on the prowl. The cat that was roaming through backyards here along Standufer and Akard streets is no
longer a threat to herself or anyone else. Now, she's back home with her family.

Zahara is an African Serval, or to those who don't know much about cats, she's an exotic-domesticated cat. Servals can get up to 40-pounds, about the size of a medium size dog like a cockerspaniel. Zahara ran away from home last Thursday. Sending a red alert through her community.

Zahara's owner, Carol Moeller, says she thinks Zahara got out when her husband was on his way to work last Thursday morning. He left a door open and she slid out.

Her neighbors called her and kept her updated with information about Zahara and finally, Wednesday afternoon, Zahara had come home. But it was that easy for Zahara to go back to her family and now she's safe from harm's way.

Carol Moeler says Zahara posed no threat to the community. She's de-clawed and only will eat small rodents and insects. African Servals are considered exotic animals, but you don't need a permit to own one in the state of Louisiana.

However, if you are an animal lover, don't go running out just yet to buy one of these cats. Carol says it takes a lot to raise one and she doesn't suggest owning one unless you're positive you can handle the responsibility.

Carol says usually Servals leave a scent trail to get back home, and she was worried that Zahara's scent had diminished and she'd be lost. Caddo Commissioner David Cox says when new ordiances were passed last year by the Caddo Commission, there were certain exotic animals that were put on a permit requiment list. It all depends on how exotic the animal is.

Story Created: Feb 8, 2007 at 11:35 PM EST
Story Updated: Feb 9, 2007 at 8:18 PM EST

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bobcat, almost certainly former "pet," wanders through Texas museum

Sara Perkins
Monitor Staff Writer
February 06,2007

EDINBURG — An unexpected visitor slipped silently through the front door and wandered 10 yards across the tiled foyer into the Museum of South Texas History’s gift shop.

Is he part of the exhibit? another visitor asked the woman behind the counter.

The answer was a quick evacuation to an office behind the shop while Edinburg animal control was called.

The guest, a bobcat the size of a Labrador, made a 7-foot leap to the top of a bookcase and, after stalking back and forth along the top, settled next to a basket.

"Everyone was out and we dimmed the lights and he just sat there like he owned the place," said Sandra Luna, the manager on duty at the museum that day. "And for a while there, he did."

About 15 visitors to the Closner Boulevard museum on Saturday were given free passes and asked to come back another time, while staff took photos of their new exhibit with camera phones through the glass front window of the shop.

"He was beautiful," Luna said. "I’ve never seen a wild animal that close."

Two animal control officers, with the help of museum board member Jim McAllen, eventually pulled the cat off the shelf and into a cage without harming it. It was released at McAllen’s ranch, according to museum employees.

The only casualty was a copy of Todd Hansen’s "The Alamo Reader," of which its cover was torn during the bobcat’s descent, said Executive Director Shan Rankin.

The bobcat was almost certainly an escaped or released pet.

"A wild bobcat would not come inside," said John Young, a mammologist with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife in Austin. A wild one "would be going frantic to get back out."

However, the animal had apparently been fending for itself for a while. His droppings showed the remains of rodents and birds, the typical prey of bobcats in the wild, according to museum staff.

Bobcats can be legally kept as pets in Texas. They are occasionally picked up by animal control, and owners sometimes bring them in for rabies shots, said Assistant Chief Peter de la Garza of the Edinburg Police Department.

The museum sees around 35,000 visitors a year, 16,000 of whom are schoolchildren.

The bobcat picked a good weekend, Luna said with a laugh.

Had it waited two weeks to visit, it would have encountered a much bigger crowd at the museum’s annual pioneer and ranching craft day.


Sara Perkins covers Starr County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4472. Details.cfm&StoryID=17756&Section=Valley