Monday, September 21, 2015

Female Zookeeper killed by a tiger in New Zealand (PHOTOS)


Samantha Kudeweh was on Sunday, September 20 attacked by one of Hamilton Zoo's Sumatran tigers in New Zealand. According to local reports, the tiger attacked the 43-year-old mother of two while the animal's enclosure was being cleaned. The Zoo will be closed until Thursday Sept. 24th.

A staff confirmed that the tiger will not be put down following the tragedy.

Lance Vervoort, Hamilton City Council’s General Manager Community, says although Samantha’s death is a tragedy for the wider zoo family and international wildlife conservation community, senior zoo staff have ruled out euthanizing Oz.

"We’re aware there is a lot of interest and speculation around how we manage Oz now, and I want to assure the public and zoo supporters that he will not be put down," Mr Vervoort says. " Although there is an inherent risk for zoo professionals who manage big cats like Oz, there is no wider ongoing risk. There is no reason for us to put Oz down." Mr Vervoort says the decision not to euthanize Oz was made by zoo senior staff today. They have advised the Ministry for Primary Industries – the Government agency responsible for overseeing zoo and wildlife park operations in New Zealand – of this.

"This is our call, and the decision on Oz rested solely with us. Oz is a significant animal for his species. He is the father of our two cubs, and he is vital to the ongoing breeding programme to conserve this rare species." Mr Vervoort says the widely held view among zoo professionals was that Oz’s attack on Samantha was in line with his natural instincts. Hamilton Zoo will reopen on Thursday, and Mr Vervoort says some of the zoo’s five Sumatran tigers will be on display. No decision has been made on whether visitors to the zoo will be able to see Oz. Mr Vervoort says the zoo’s popular Tiger Talks, Eye 2 Eye and Face 2 Face encounters for all species have been suspended until further notice to allow zoo staff time and space to grieve for their friend and colleague.

Source: Hamilton Zoo/Facebook

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