Gqeberha park tiger kills employee, another predator in front of staff
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Cape Town – An employee at Seaview Predator Park in Gqeberha, David Solomon, died after being attacked (not mauled) by a Siberian tiger on Wednesday afternoon.
The electric fencing in the enclosure housing Siberian tigers Jasper and Jade was in the process of being repaired when Jasper jumped on the exterior fence and got out, the park said in a statement on Thursday.
Jasper apparently broke Solomon’s neck when he pulled him off the fence in the presence of other employees and volunteers.
’’David was, unfortunately, in the passageway between enclosures walking towards the water supply taps when the incident occurred. David attempted to climb the fence of a different enclosure to get to safety and was pulled off the fence by Jasper.
’’We confirm that David obviously had bite marks, but it would seem that Jasper broke David’s neck when he pulled David off the fence. Jasper then proceeded to jump the exterior fence of the next door enclosure which houses Siberian Tigers Judah and Amber.
’’A fight ensued between Judah and Jasper and Judah was killed. Jasper, being an entire male Siberian tiger, wanted the attentions of Amber, an entire female Siberian tiger.
’’When the incident occurred, management immediately closed the park and assisted members of the public who were near the tiger enclosures to safely gather their belongings and exit the park. Members of the public who were at the restaurant were kept there until it was safe for them to return to their vehicles and exit the Park.
Jasper and Amber were tranquillised so that the remains of David could be safely retrieved, as well as that of Judah. It is believed that Jasper wanted to attarct the attention of another Siberian tiger.
Solomon had been at the Seaview Predator Park for about 15 years and knew each of the animals since they were cubs.
’’We are all one big family and the loss of David has left every single one of us heartbroken and traumatised, specifically the staff members and volunteers who were present when the incident occurred.
’’David’s presence, jokes, willingness to teach our young volunteers and overall bubbling personality is going to be missed so much and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and close friends. May his dear soul rest in peace.
’’We would like to confirm that all the large cats are safely contained in their enclosures and the electric fencing is fully functional. Jasper’s incident is a first at the park and was obviously fuelled by hormones.
’’Jasper is now quite calm and content, sharing an enclosure with Amber and there are no plans to destroy Jasper.’’