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.