Tiger Attacks And Kills Zookeeper At An Animal Park In Spain

The tiger's fate will be determined "judicially," the park manager said.

03/07/2016 9:00 PM AEST | Updated 04/07/2016 3:23 AM AEST
Mike Hill via Getty Images
A tiger, not pictured, reportedly attacked and killed a zookeeper at the Terra Natura animal park in Benidorm, Spain, on Saturday afternoon.

A zookeeper has reportedly been attacked and killed by a tiger as she was cleaning its enclosure at an animal park in southeast Spain.

The 37-year-old woman's lifeless body was discovered inside the tiger exhibit at the Terra Natura park in Benidorm at 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The tiger was still in the cage," said a Red Cross spokesman. Zookeepers used sedative darts to put the animal to sleep so that emergency crews could enter the enclosure.

But they sadly declared that the woman, who'd worked at the park for eight years but has not yet been identified, was dead.

The park's manager, Alberto Gaforio, told Antena 3 Noticias on Sunday that the tiger was currently "confined and isolated" and that its fate would be determined "judicially."

The tourist attraction, located on the Costa Blanca in the Alicante province, issued a statement following the tragedy in which it said it "deeply regretted" its employee's death.

It said the woman was found "inside the enclosure of the Asian tigers, where only authorized visitors have access" and which is not visible to guests. The Telegraph reports the park was open at the time but no visitors witnessed the incident. An investigation into the tragic incident is ongoing.

"The zoo has strict security protocols with regard to the handling of animals," the zoo said. "For reasons that are being investigated, the zookeeper has come into direct contact with the animal while doing cleaning work in the interior shelters."

This piece has been updated to clarify the status of the tiger.

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