The tiger was taken to another enclosure after the attack, but the zoo shared in a statement that there would be "no consequences for the animal"

By Nicholas Rice
July 06, 2020 02:46 PM
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ENNIO LEANZA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A zookeeper in Switzerland has died after she was attacked by a Siberian tiger at the Zurich Zoo, as visitors looked on in horror.

The attack occurred inside the zoo on Saturday afternoon, according to zoo officials, and onlookers called for help after the animal started to attack the employee.

Zoo staff members rushed to their colleague’s aid and lured the Siberian tiger named Irina out of the enclosure, allowing a team of first responders to work on treating the keeper.

Zoo officials did not identify the keeper but said she was a 55-year-old woman. Zurich police spokeswoman Judith Hoedl shared, "Sadly all help came too late. The woman died at the scene."

The zoo was closed Sunday but reopened Monday, though the tiger complex remains closed.

Hoedl said an investigation has been launched into the incident, including finding out why the keeper was in the enclosure at the same time as the tiger.

The tiger was taken to another enclosure after the attack, but the zoo shared in a follow-up statement that there would be "no consequences for the animal."

In the statement, the zoo shared that Irina, "is a wild animal," and added, "A person in their facility is an intruder into their territory. In her reaction, she only followed her natural instincts."

The zoo said counseling would be available for visitors and staff members who witnessed the attack.

According to a report from USA Today, Irina was born in 2015 at a zoo in the Danish city of Odense and was transferred to Zurich a year ago.

BBC News reports this is not the first attack at the zoo. Last December, a crocodile at the zoo had to be shot after it bit the hand of a keeper and would not release its grip.