Copenhagen, Denmark — A 21-year-old Afghan-born man is dead after he climbed into the tiger pit at the Copenhagen Zoo, sustaining multiple bites.
The incident took place on Wednesday when authorities say the man broke into the zoo early in the morning, scaling a low fence and climbing into a moat around the Siberian tiger den, according to Yahoo News.
Police Superintendent Lars Borg stated of the incident that:
“We received an emergency call at about 7:30 a.m. that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person. The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death.”
The Huffington Post reports that it is unclear why the man entered the tigers’ lair, but they have not excluded suicide as a motive. They announced that the man sustained multiple bite wounds to the throat, face, chest, and thigh, but it seemed the throat. Borg stated, “We don’t know why he went in and why he ended up in the enclosure.”
The man has been identified by his family, and was just granted Danish citizenship last month. Police have declined to release his name, but stated his body was found by a zookeeper early Wednesday, surrounded by the zoo’s three Siberian tigers. Borg explained:
“He has been in the water and the animals must have seen that and attacked him. He was killed in the water.”
The Copenhagen Post reports that zoo director Steffen Stræder stated employees had “followed their instructions very closely.” He also added that they would review the incident, although they had no immediate plans to change their security procedures. He told the press Wednesday morning that, “Anything else would be arrogant.”
Stræder also stated that the tigers will not be put down, because, “It’s not their fault” the man climbed into their den.”