Two tigers that escaped from their cage after killing a zoo keeper were shot dead in central China on Tuesday, state media reported.
The tigers mauled the keeper, surnamed Jia, who was feeding them at Danjiang Peacock Valley, a tourist attraction outside Nanyang city in Henan province, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.
The keeper was taken to hospital and later died.
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The local authorities evacuated visitors and members of staff while armed police, forestry workers and fire crews were called to the scene in an attempt to round up the escaped tigers.
However, the efforts failed and it was decided to shoot the animals on Tuesday afternoon.
“After repeated attempts to ensnare the two tigers failed, senior management approved the decision to shoot the tiger dead to ensure public safety,” a Xichuan county forestry bureau statement read.
The two big cats had been on loan from a circus in Suzhou city in the neighbouring province of Anhui.
The escape follows a similar incident at a zoo in Anhui on Sunday, when a 55-year-old handler died in hospital after being mauled by a tiger, CCTV reported.
The zoo keeper was bitten and scratched on his neck, head and back.
Initial investigations showed that the keeper had entered the cage to clean it without making sure the door to the tiger isolation cubicle was locked.
The zoo worker, surnamed Yang, had worked at Zhanggongshan zoo in Bengbu city for nearly 20 years.
Earlier this month three leopards escaped from a wildlife park in the eastern city of Hangzhou. Two of the animals have been rounded up, while the third is feared dead.
The escapes also follow an incident last month, when a wild Siberian tiger attacked villagers in the far northeast of the country, before being caught and sent to a wildlife centre.
Global conservation body WWF, which classifies the tigers as endangered, estimates that just 3,900 remain in the wild.
However, it says that wild tiger populations are stable or increasing in Asian countries such as Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia.
Tigers face pressures from poaching, retaliatory killings and habitat loss and are forced to compete for space with dense and often growing human populations.
This article Escaped tigers shot dead after killing keeper at Chinese zoo first appeared on South China Morning Post