Recent animal attacks at parks and zoos worry many

World Today

A tiger-mauling death at a Chinese zoo is under investigation by local authorities who said the victim climbed a fence into the tiger’s enclosure.

The attack occurred Saturday at a resort on Dongqian Lake in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. A local government statement says the victim, identified only by his surname of Zhang, climbed a fence with a friend instead of buying tickets. The statement said Zhang’s wife and two children, as well as his friend’s wife, bought tickets to enter the zoo.

Zhang allegedly passed through a wire netting and eventually climbed a wall to enter the tiger enclosure. A tiger attacked him inside the enclosure, as visitors to the park apparently watched from a distance. Photos and video shared on social media appear to show Zhang lying on the ground as tigers circle him.

State television reported one tiger was shot dead by local police, and three others nearby were dispersed using firecrackers. One video posted online shows a tiger gnawing on his body as people can be heard screaming.

Zhang died later in a hospital.

Two women were attacked by Siberian tigers in July when they got out of their vehicle at a Beijing safari park. One woman was killed, and the other was seriously injured.

Recent attacks in other zoos around the world have concerned many.

In May 2016, a Gorilla named Harambe at Cincinnati Zoo was holding a three year-old boy who fell into a moat. Harambe became agitated, experts think, because of the screams of onlookers. So he started dragging the boy through the water before carrying him to dry land. Zoo keepers decided to kill Harambe, fearing for the safety of the boy,

But the decision to do so was the subject of some debate afterward.

Also that month, the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo in Chile was forced to shoot and kill two lions after a man climbed the fence, removed his clothes and then approached the lions.

Nine years ago, a tiger named Tatiana escaped her open air enclosure and attacked three friends, killing 17 year-old Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr. His two friends who were brothers survived the mauling.

In 1996, a three year-old boy climbed the wall of a gorilla exhibit, falling over seven meters. A gorilla named Binti-Jua cradled the unconscious boy. Experts speculated that his apparent care was the result of having been raised by humans.

But then a decade before that a male gorilla named Jambo at the Durrell Widlife Park in Jersey…in the British Channel Islands. Jambo was not raised by humans displayed protective instincts when a five year-old child fell into his enclosure. A group of men bravely jumped into the enclosure to rescue the boy after he regained consciousness.

Some of the most shocking incidents involve orcas or killer whales.

Caught in Iceland, Tilikum was the largest orca in captivity. He was first transferred in 1991 to a place called Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia, Canada where Tilikum and two other whales drowned a trainer after she fell into the pool.

He was then transferred to Seaworld in Florida where he killed a man who entered the pool naked. Lastly, he killed a trainer, Dawn Brancheau in 2010 by dragging her around the pool at the end of a public show.

Story by CCTV America and the Associated Press.

Adam Roberts of Born Free on animal attacks at zoos

CGTN America’s Mike Walter interviewed Adam Roberts, the CEO of Born Free, a national animal advocacy nonprofit that aims to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife in their natural habitats.

Follow Born Free on Twitter at @bornfreeusa

One More Question for Adam Roberts about animal attacks

CGTN asked Roberts some more questions about global standards in zookeeping, whether there are established procedures immediately following animal attacks, and what “compassionate conservation” means.