NEWS AND COMMENTS-SOUTH AFRICA: A big cat keeper has been killed by a Siberian tiger at a wildlife park in South Africa. The Siberian tiger, Jasper, also killed another Siberian tiger and his objective was to be with a female.
An electric fence had been switched off for repair. Jasper was able, therefore, to scale it to get into another area were David Solomon, 59, was present. He tried to escape by climbing another fence but fell from it as he was pulled down by Jasper. Jasper weighs 600 pounds (272 kg) and is 6 feet in length (183 cm). Jasper was then able to enter another enclosure to reach a rival Siberian tiger, Judah, and a female tiger Amber.
Jasper fought with Judah for access to Amber. Jasper killed Judah and Seaview Predator Park shared in a statement that, “Jasper wanted the attentions of Amber, an entire female Siberian tiger.”
By “entire” they mean that she was a breeding female and that Jasper wanted to mate with her. He was driven by his hormones to kill both a person and a male Siberian tiger in achieving that objective. I am pleased to say that Jasper was subsequently tranquilized rather than shot which often happens. He is now enjoying the company of Amber in a calm and content way.
A park statement said: “David Solomon had been at the Seaview Predator Park for about 15 years and knew each of the animals since they were cubs. We are one big family and the loss of David has left every one of us heartbroken.”
The park covers 300 acres and is mainly an education facility. They do not use their animals for breeding. It seems that they allowed Amber to be unsterilised because they want females to enjoy “natural interaction with their male counterparts”.
The incident is likely to cause debate because the South African big cat industry is described as “unruly” by The Times journalist Jane Flanagan. Several keepers have been killed in recent years and there have been at least 40 similar attacks in South Africa in the past decade, of which 25% resulted in deaths. No doubt the park will review their policies regarding the turning off of electric fences and keeping females unspayed.
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