An 8-year-old Malayan tiger in a Florida zoo was shot to dying after grabbing the arm of a cleaner and pulling it into its enclosure Wednesday night, officers stated. The cleaner, who police say breached a barrier to get near the animal, was airlifted to a hospital and was in critical situation, based on CBS Fort Myers affiliate WINK-TV.
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens says it was closed for the day when the person, who works for a third-party cleansing service, “entered an unauthorized area near a tiger that was inside its enclosure.”
“The cleaning company is responsible for cleaning restrooms and the gift shop, not the animal enclosures,” the zoo stated. It isn’t clear why the person approached the tiger’s enclosure.
According to the zoo, the person was both petting or feeding the tiger, named Eko, “both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities.” The man was later recognized by the Collier County Sheriff’s workplace as 26-year-old River Rosenquist.
In assertion supplied to CBS News by the zoo Thursday afternoon, the sheriff’s workplace stated Rosenquist “put his hand through the enclosure fence,” prompting the tiger to seize his hand and pull his arm into the enclosure. A deputy responded to the scene and tried unsuccessfully to get the tiger to launch Rosenquist’s arm, so a fellow officer “was left with no option but to shoot the animal in order to save Rosenquist’s life,” the sheriff’s workplace stated.
Body digital camera video launched by the division confirmed the person screaming in ache on one aspect of a fence, with the tiger on the opposite aspect along with his hand in its mouth. One officer seems to attempt to prod the tiger in an try to scare it off, however the tiger does not transfer. Soon after, one other officer fires a shot.
The tiger retreated to the again of the enclosure after it was shot, making it troublesome to find out the extent of its accidents, the sheriff’s workplace stated. A zoo veterinarian later tranquilized the tiger, permitting officers to find out that Eko had been fatally shot.
“Our deputy did everything he could do in that situation and he ultimately made the only possible decision he could in order to save this man’s life,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk stated within the assertion.
The zoo says Malayan tigers are critically endangered, with solely about 200 left within the wild.
The zoo mourned Eko’s dying on Thursday. “He will be deeply missed and we sincerely appreciate the love and support of the community as we navigate this difficult time,” the zoo stated in an announcement.