Deputy shoots tiger at Florida zoo after it attacks man, authorities say

A cleaning service contractor was attacked by a tiger after entering an enclosure at the Naples Zoo, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

The man suffered serious injuries when he walked into an unauthorized area near the tiger, officials said. The cleaning company is responsible for cleaning restrooms and the gift shop at the zoo but not the animal enclosures, a zoo spokesperson told the Sheriff's Office.

"Preliminary information indicates that the man was either petting or feeding the animal, both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities. Initial reports indicate that the tiger grabbed the man’s arm," the Sheriff's Office said.

A tiger is seen after Fire and Rescue Department officer sprays a disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) at the closed National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 17, 2020. (Photo by Mohd Daud/NurPho

Deputies were called to the zoo at 6:26 p.m. and the first deputy on scene kicked the enclosure to try to get the tiger to release the man’s arm from its mouth.  The Sheriff's Office said the deputy was forced to shoot the animal.

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The man, who is in his 20s, was transported to an area hospital by Collier County EMS as a trauma alert.

WFTX-TV reports that the patient was being treated at Lee Health and that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the incident.

The health status of the tiger was not immediately known. Deputies said the four-year-old male Malayan tiger retreated to the back of the enclosure after it was shot.  A veterinarian sedated the animal for examination.  

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