Tiger shot dead after biting arm of Naples Zoo cleaner

A tiger has died after being shot when it bit the arm of a cleaner at a zoo in Florida.

Eko, an eight-year-old Malayan tiger, was found with the man’s arm in its mouth at Naples Zoo on Wednesday.

A sheriff’s deputy attempted to get the tiger to release the man but was forced to shoot the animal.

The tiger retreated into its enclosure after being shot and was sedated by a vet in order for it to be safely examined, but was later announced to have died.

The cleaner, in his 20s, was seriously injured and taken to a hospital, NBC News reported.

He worked for a third-party cleaning service and was hired to clean toilets and the gift shop.

It has been reported that he put his arm into the tiger’s enclosure and was not supposed to be in that area of the zoo.

The incident happened around 6.30pm at a time when the zoo was closed.

“The first deputy on scene kicked the enclosure and tried to get the tiger to release the man’s arm from its mouth but the deputy was forced to shoot the animal,” said Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

They added the cleaner appeared to have “traversed an initial fence barrier and put his arm through the fencing of the tiger enclosure” in a possible attempt to pet or feed the animal.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission will investigate the incident.

According to a February 2020 blogpost on the Naples Zoo website, Eko previously lived at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

He came to Naples Zoo in December 2019.

The zoo is part of the Tiger Conservation Campaign to support efforts to address threats to the Malayan tigers in the wild, which is a critically endangered animal.

There are assessed to be between 80 to 120 breeding adult Malayan tigers currently living in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

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