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They killed a tiger that attacked a man at a Florida zoo

(CNN) – Authorities say a tiger was shot dead by a sheriff’s aide on Wednesday after attacking a man at a zoo in Naples, Florida.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that a 20-year-old man was seriously injured when he entered the unauthorized area of ​​the enclosure and began to attack or feed the tiger at the Naples Zoo in the Caribbean Garden.

The attack comes after the zoo was closed that day. The sheriff’s office said the man was part of a cleaning service hired to clean the restrooms and gift shops at the zoo.

“After crossing the initial fence barrier and putting his hand through the fence of the compound, the tiger grabbed the man’s hand and dragged him into the compound,” the sheriff’s office statement said.

The first officer who responded to the scene kicked the block and the tiger tried to free the man’s hand, but “was forced to shoot the tiger,” the sheriff’s office said.

The man, who was not identified by authorities, was transferred to a hospital in the area.

An official at the zoo told CNN that a tiger named Ego was dead. Echo was 8 years old and came to the zoo in December 2019, the official said. The zoo did not provide further details about the incident.

Environmental Mode UN Malay tiger, Which is commonly found on the Malay Peninsula and in the far south of Thailand. Zoo website.

According to the zoo site, Malayan tigers are at high risk and face threats including poaching and habitat loss.

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The zoo closes after the tiger dies

The zoo was closed on Thursday due to ongoing investigations, but will reopen on Friday, the zoo’s marketing director Courtney Jolly told a news conference Thursday with a joint venture with WBBH, a subsidiary of WBBH.

“We give our staff some time to implement what happened, but also give them some time to begin the mourning process and healing process,” Jolly said. “This is a very sad day at the zoo. And we heartily appreciate the support of the community.”

Jolly said there had never been an incident like this at the Naples Zoo or with this particular tiger or that “no one broke the fence and put themselves in this position”.

The zoo has a “shooting team” trained for “daily crisis operations” and the protocol is that the team must be at the zoo when it is open to the public, Jolly said. The team includes an incident commander, one in charge of the animals, a leading sniper and a leading dart.

“We fully support the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. They have amazed us for a long time, not yesterday. We have been partners with them for a long time, ”said Jolly. “If a person is in immediate danger, they should take that action. We supported the CCSO. Unfortunately that officer had to do his job.”

One of the staff has hired a grief counselor and he will stay as long as needed.

The zoo decided to start a fund in Echo’s name to honor him and his memory, but details of that fund are still being prepared, Jolly said.

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Aya Elamroussi and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.