A tiger at a Florida zoo was shot and killed by a deputy Wednesday night after the animal bit a maintenance worker who entered an unauthorized area near the animal’s enclosure, authorities and a report said.
The cleaning worker, a man in his 20s employed by a third party from Naples Zoo, was either trying to pat or feed the 8-year-old Malaysian tiger as it grabbed his arm and pulled him into the enclosure, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m., and the first deputy to arrive kicked the fence in an unsuccessful attempt to get the tiger to release the worker, the sheriff’s office said.
Afterwards, “the deputy was forced to shoot the animal,” the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The tiger, named Eko, later died, according to NBC 2.
The worker suffered serious injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.
Authorities said the employee was tasked with cleaning the zoo’s bathrooms and gift shop, not animal enclosures.