Rare white tiger mauls keepers

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iol pic wld Czech Republic Tiger Attack AP In this September 3, 2012 file photo, a rare white Indian tiger cub sits at the feet of its mother Surya Bara at a zoo in the city of Liberec, Czech Republic.

Prague, Czech Republic -

A rare white tiger mauled three keepers on Thursday after it escaped from its enclosure at a Czech zoo and roamed free for an hour before being tranquilised, police said.

One keeper, a 20-year-old man, was taken to hospital suffering head, neck and back injuries after the male tiger named Paris reportedly carried him in his jaws at Liberec zoo in the north of the Czech Republic.

Two women also suffered “scratches,” police spokeswoman Ludmila Knopova told AFP, adding that all the keepers were expected to recover.

“About 30 children and several adults were visiting the zoo. They were immediately evacuated,” Knopova said, adding that the rogue tiger was later tranquilised and an investigation launched into its escape.

The seven-year-old tiger, which weighs around 250 kilograms and has striking black and white stripes and blue eyes, arrived in Liberec from a zoo in France in 2006. Paris is the father of three cubs born at the zoo in July.

Liberec is the only zoo in the Czech Republic to host white tigers and the regal animals are the official mascots of the 100 000-strong city.

In 2009, two lions at the zoo fatally mauled a 17-year-old female white tiger after forcing their way into her enclosure.

Hailing from southern and eastern Asia, particularly India, white tigers owe their appearance to a recessive gene and are regarded as an endangered species. - Sapa-AFP

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