Malayan tiger killed after biting man's arm at Florida zoo

Eko the tiger fatally shot after man entered unauthorised area

An endangered tiger was shot and killed after biting a man who was either feeding or petting the animal at a zoo in south-west Florida, authorities said.

The man, a third-party cleaning contractor in his 20s, was seriously injured on Wednesday night at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and was transported to an area hospital, the local sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

Authorities said that the tiger, named Eko, grabbed the man and pulled him into the enclosure after he crossed an unauthorised barrier to put his arm through the fence. The incident occurred after the zoo had closed for the day.

The first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene attempted to release the man's arm from the tiger's mouth, but was unsuccessful, and “the deputy was forced to shoot the animal”, the sheriff's office said.

Feeding and petting zoo animals is unauthorised and dangerous, the Facebook post said.

Eko came to the Naples Zoo two years ago after being transported from Seattle, Washington. The tiger was 8 years old.

Malayan tigers are critically endangered and there are fewer than 200 mature adults in the wild. The tigers are native to the forests and swamps of Malaysia, and they face threats including habitat loss and poachers.

The Naples Zoo announced it will be closed on Thursday.

“We thank our community for their understanding and for the messages and words of encouragement and support that have been flowing in to us,” the zoo said.

Updated: December 31st 2021, 12:29 AM