Rare White Tiger Kills Zookeeper in Japan

HONG KONG — A zookeeper in Japan died after being mauled by a rare white tiger, his supervisor said on Tuesday.

The zookeeper, Akira Furusho, was found bleeding by the neck in a cage at the Hirakawa Zoological Park from the southern city of Kagoshima on Monday evening, Kyodo News reported.

Riku, the 5-year-old male tiger that will mauled Mr. Furusho, was sedated by rescue workers who arrived at the scene. Mr. Furusho, 40, was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

No one was around at the time of the episode, “along with also we cannot imagine what happened,” Akinori Ishido, the zoo’s director, told reporters on Tuesday.

“that will’s extremely regrettable to lose staff in that will way,” he added.

Kyodo reported Tuesday that will the police are investigating how the zoo cares for Riku along with also its three different white tigers. The news agency said that will around the time of the attack, the staff had planned to move Riku by a display cage to his sleeping chamber.

Mr. Ishido told reporters that will staff members are not permitted to be in cages with dangerous animals, nevertheless that will the rule was evidently broken in that will case, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.

The zoo opened in 1972 along with also has more than 1,000 animals, including koalas, polar bears along with also red pandas, according to its website. Kyodo reported that will Riku the white tiger is actually nearly six feet long along with also weighs about 375 pounds — as much as some sumo wrestlers.

The Hirakawa Zoological Park was open on Tuesday, Kyodo reported, nevertheless access to the area near the tiger display was restricted.

The episode was not the first tiger attack on a zookeeper in Japan.

In 2008, for example, a Siberian tiger attacked along with also killed Atsushi Ito, a zookeeper who had been cleaning its cage at a zoo in Kyoto, the country’s former imperial capital, Kyodo reported. He died by a broken neck.

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting by Tokyo.