Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NZealand zookeeper killed by white tiger

AFP - Wednesday, May 27 WELLINGTON (AFP) - - A zookeeper was mauled to death by a white tiger at a wildlife park in New Zealand's north, police said.

"A male wildlife keeper was fatally mauled by a white tiger while cleaning an enclosure in Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens today," New Zealand police said in a statement.

A report said visitors to the park had seen the attack, although this was not immediately confirmed by police.

An Auckland man told the Fairfax newspaper group he had seen the mauling.

"It was very, very frightening," said the man, who declined to be named.

Despite the efforts of the second keeper and a rapid response from other wildlife park staff, the tiger would not let the park worker go and he died at the scene, police said.

The tiger was later destroyed by wildlife park staff.

Fairfax's Stuff website reported eight foreign tourists at the park were understood to have witnessed the incident.