Escaped Tiger Kills Zoo Keeper in Cologne, Germany

Authorities in Germany say an escaped tiger attacked and killed a female keeper at Cologne zoo on Saturday.

According to CBCNews, the male tiger, which the local press identifies as “Altai,” managed to get out through a security tunnel which was not properly secured and into an administration building, where it attacked and killed the 43-year-old zoo keeper.

‘‘It appears the gate wasn’t properly shut,’’ police spokesman Stefan Kirchner told The Associated Press.

After the mauling, which occurred at around noon local time on Saturday, the zoo’s director, Theo Pagel, used a rifle to shoot the animal dead through the storage building’s skylight before it could make its way to the visitor areas.

“The zoo director has the right weapons for such a task,” Kirchner said, adding that the police service pistols would not have been much use against a tiger. “Our guns would not have even scratched it,” he said.

Visitors were not harmed during the incident and Kirchner added it was unlikely that members of the public had witnessed the attack.

“This is the darkest day of my life,” Cologne Zoo director Pagel was quoted as saying after the tragic incident.

Pagel added that a planned late-night opening of the park had been canceled.

BBC reports that Saturday’s tiger incident isn’t the first time this year animals have escaped from their enclosures in a German Zoo.

Last month five chimpanzees broke out of their pen in Hanover. In that case, however, they were recaptured before anyone was hurt.

via The Local