Summary List Placement
David Solomon, an employee at Seaview Predator Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, suffered a broken neck after trying to escape from the 675-pound tiger named Jasper.
“David was unfortunately in the passageway between two tiger enclosures walking towards the water supply taps when the incident occurred, and Jasper got out,” the zoo said in a statement, according to the Daily Star.
“The electric fencing in the enclosure housing our Siberian tigers Jasper and Jade was being repaired when Jasper jumped on the exterior fence and got out,” said the statement.
“David attempted to climb the fence of a different enclosure to get to safety but was pulled off the fence by Jasper,” the statement continued. The tiger pulled Solomon’s with such force that he broke his neck.
— SA Breaking News (@SABreakingNews) June 17, 2021
According to the zoo, Jasper then jumped into another enclosure to get the attention of Amber, a female Siberian tiger. He fought and killed another tiger, named Judah, in the process.
Park managers declared an emergency and immediately asked members of the public to leave.
The incident is a first for the park, which said the loss of Solomon had “left every one of us heartbroken and traumatized,” The Daily Star reported.
He had been at the zoo for 15 years and raised Jasper since he was a cub, the zoo added.
There are no plans to euthanize Jasper, who is currently sharing an enclosure with Amber and has calmed down again, the park said. The zookeeper’s death has prompted a fresh debate over South Africa’s captive big cat industry.