The five-year-old siberian tigress Irina, born in Odense Zoo, killed Saturday a 55-year-old female zookeeper in a zoo in Zurich. Eyewitnesses and staff were offered counselling.
See also: Tiger from the Danish zoo kills keeper in Switzerland
The full-grown cat, came to the swiss zoo from the island of Fyn, a year ago.
- Our dyrepassere remember her as a good tiger with a good mind, explains the director of the Odense Zoo Bjarne Klausen, which is very affected by the accident in Switzerland.
- She was born with us and had never been exposed to traumatizing experiences. She was easy to work with and willing to fit in the routines which are in a zoo, says the zoo manager.
- We are all deeply concerned over the tragedy in Zurich. It is something that we all fear and work daily to prevention, he explains.
She stresses that Irina has done nothing wrong.
- It is a result of human error. Often, when a tiger in a zoo kills a zookeeper, it's all about something as simple as a door. You have simply forgotten to close a door to a box or to provide or inside the plant, explains the Danish zoo-director.
He explains that it is extreme and unfamiliar, utrygt and threatening of a tiger, when a man suddenly finds himself in its territory.
- Then reacts to it instinctively, like it happened yesterday. So when you fit such a predator, in order to exclude human error check three times whether the doors actually closed, he says.
He denied that the attack happened because of hunger.
- It has not been hunting. It must be the unfamiliar situation in which tiger reacted naturally, which had the tragic consequence. Also, remember that the tigers only together with the other tigers, when they should spawn.
He explains that the tigers unlike lions are not attached to the dyrepassere. When people act with tigers, for example, stands on hind legs and opens his mouth, it is not an expression of the fact that they are domesticated, but that the animals are hard training for it.
He says, tigers teach their dyrepassere to know.
But the tigers have opposite lions no feelings for the zookeeper. Still, there may arise a kind of trust relationship. The zookeeper, who died in Zurich, had not been long in the zoo. It takes a very, very long time to build a relationship of trust with a tiger.
- So it may well be that the dyrepassere, as we have here in Odense - and as Irina has grown up with - had survived a situation like the one that occurred yesterday. They had maybe had one more minute before they had been attacked, says Bjarne Klausen.
What would you say to people who suggest that Irina should be killed, because she killed the keeper?
- It should certainly not happen. She reacted as I said complete, as the tigers must do. There is only a tragic human error. The animal would not otherwise be able to understand why it had to be killed, for a human hævnmotiv is of course completely foreign to a tiger, says the director of the Odense Zoo.