Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015|7:23 a.m.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP)– A veteran New Zealand zookeeper was attacked and eliminated by a Sumatran tiger Sunday inside the animal’s enclosure.
Cops said they were phoned call to the Hamilton Zoo at 11 a.m. after reports that 43-year-old Samantha Kudeweh had been assaulted by among the zoo’s 5 tigers. Police said she passed away at the scene.
The zoo asked all visitors to leave and said it was closing its doors till Thursday. Authorities are examining to figure out precisely what took place.
Zoo visitor Adam Rich informed The New Zealand Herald that he saw the tigers Sunday morning and discovered a female zookeeper opening a gate to allow them access to an outdoor enclosure.
He said that about 45 minutes to an hour later, zoo staff approached him and asked him to leave. He stated they were offering everybody a refund.
“They appeared a bit panicky,” Rich said.
Kudeweh was a senior member of the personnel and had actually been a zookeeper for more than Twenty Years, according to police.
A biography on the zoo’s website explained her function as curator, responsible for arranging exactly what animals the zoo obtained and how it looked after them.
“For me the very best feature of my role is the chances to communicate with other species one to one, but there is a drawback which is having to say goodbye to animals,” Kudeweh wrote on the site. “That part never ever gets any simpler.”
The zoo is owned and run by the Hamilton City Council.
Council representative Jeff Neems stated the tiger that assaulted Kudeweh is called Oz and is the zoo’s only adult male tiger.
He stated Oz was currently securely consisted of inside his enclosure. He stated he had no discuss whether the animal was likely to be taken down.
Neems said the public was never ever in threat throughout the incident which all animals had continued to be contained in their enclosures.
“Our focus at this time is on offering the appropriate support for our staff and relative who have been affected by this awful incident,” the council stated in a statement, including that it would not talk about exactly what went wrong up until all examinations had actually been completed.
Neems stated the zoo has 128,000 visitors each year, making it about the 4th most popular zoo in New Zealand. He said that he didn’t understand the number of visitors were at the zoo throughout the event.
The zoo states on its site that it is the home of over 600 native and unique animals set on 25 hectares (62 acres) of premises.
Sumatran tigers are thought about critically endangered, with less than 400 of the tiger subspecies still living in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.