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Zookeeper mauled and suffocated to death by tiger he had raised since a cub in front of horrified visitors

Mirror logo Mirror 13/03/2018 Scott Feng
a cat lying on a wire fence: Credits: AsiaWire © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: AsiaWire

A zookeeper has died in front of horrified tourists in China after being mauled and suffocated by a tiger he had raised ever since it was a cub.

The animal handler, whose surname is Wu, was with the tiger inside a large metal cage used for training and exercise at the time of the attack.

The large cat "suddenly bit onto and suffocated him to death", an official with the Fuzhou City Government in East China's Fujian Province said.

The statement said Wu, who worked for Fuzhou Zoo, had raised the tiger since it was a cub, and that it had been domesticated through long-term interaction with humans.

The official described the animal as "usually quite docile".

Horrific footage taken by watching tourists shows the cat standing over the lifeless trainer's body inside the cage, which was formerly used for circus performances.

In the clip, someone can be heard shouting: "Call the police!"

Another video, blurred by Chinese media, showed the tiger appearing to claw at the handler while other staff members try to drive it away using a stick.

They eventually gained access to the victim, but he was already without vital signs and later declared dead by paramedics.

Fuzhou Zoo said the animal used to perform for visitors as part of an event outsourced to a circus from East China's Anhui Province.

The shows had already been stopped prior to the accident, with all of the attraction's lions having already been shipped away.

The tigers are still awaiting approval to be moved.

Further details about the case have yet to be revealed.

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