Police: Zoo not at fault in man’s death

Authorities are still trying to determine why the 21-year-old entered into tiger facility at the Copenhagen Zoo

July 11th, 2012 11:57 am| by admin

Copenhagen Police have ruled out any failure on the part of Copenhagen Zoo in the death of the 21-year-old man who was found lifeless in the park’s tiger facility by employees early this morning.

The man, who was found carrying a residence permit and is believed to have been a foreigner, apparently jumped over the zoo’s exterior fence during the night and then made his way into the outdoor space that housed the three Amur tigers, each weighing up to 300 kilograms.

Police investigating the incident said the zoo’s after-hours security, which includes canine patrols, had been adequate, and that none of the security guards had seen anything unusual.

The zoo has on multiple occasions had after-hours trespassers. Normally, according to Lars Borg, a spokesperson for the Copenhagen Police, they climb over the fence, but are discovered by the zoo’s patrols.

Police are now trying to determine where the man slipped into the zoo.

The tigers are separated from the public by a low retaining wall and a deep moat. Police are not certain if this is how the man entered the tiger facility. 

Steffen Stræder, the zoo’s director, said employees had “followed their instructions very closely”, and added that while the zoo had no immediate plans to change its security procedures, that the zoo would review what happened.

“Anything else would be arrogant,” he told the press this morning.

According to reports, the man was found by attendants still surrounded by tigers and had been bitten multiple times.

Tigers held in captivity, according to experts, normally kill their prey by biting them. The initial bite normally renders the victim unconscious, and should such an accident occur when there are other people present, such attacks are normally not fatal. 

The tigers, according to Stræder, will not be put down. 

“It’s not their fault,” he said.

Although this is the first time in the zoo’s 152-year history that a visitor has been killed by an animal, it is not the first time someone has been killed by a tiger in a Danish zoo.

In 2009, a former employee of the Næstved Zoo apparently committed suicide and was eaten by tigers after he used a pair of stolen keys to enter their cage.

(photo: Frank Fu)
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