Zookeeper Dalu Mncube, pictured here with a lion, was mauled to death by a rare white tiger today at the Zion Wildlife Gardens in New Zealand
Tourists visiting the Zion Wildlife Garden in Whangarei, New Zealand watched in horror as a rare white tiger mauled a zookeeper to death.
According to reports, earlier today two employees were cleaning an enclosure that contained two white tigers, when suddenly; one of the animals lunged at Dalu Mncube and knocked him to the ground.
“It was very, very frightening, there was absolutely nothing anyone could do to make the tiger let the man go,” a tourist at the zoo told reporters.
The zoo, which is located in the north of the country, has recently been investigated over allegations that the animals are being abused.
After the accident, officials closed the zoo, which was been made famous by the Lion Man reality TV series, and destroyed the tiger.
A spokesperson for the police department said, “Despite the best efforts of the second zookeeper and a rapid response from other wildlife park staff, the tiger would not let the park worker go and he died at the scene.”
An investigation has begun into whether conditions the animals were being kept in were a factor in provoking the attack.
According to reports, this is the second time that a white tiger, whose fur is white because of a missing pigment, has injured an employee at the controversial park, which is home to more than 40 rare lions and tigers.
The Zion Wildlife Gardens are well known in New Zealand as the home of the Lion Man TV series, which followed the conservation work of Craig Busch.
Busch’s mother, who controls the complex, fired him from the zoo last year and last week during a court hearing, he claimed that the care and safety standards at the park had slipped since the breakdown of his relationship with his mother.
He told the court that he has become “very concerned with animal welfare issues.”