COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Tigers fatally mauled a man inside an enclosure at the Copenhagen Zoo, officials said Wednesday.
It was unclear how or why the 21-year-old Afghan-born man had entered the Siberian tiger den, but investigators could not exclude suicide as a motive, police spokesman Lars Borg said. The man sustained multiple bite wounds to the throat, face, chest and a thigh.
“We don’t know why he went in and why he ended up in the enclosure,” Borg told The Associated Press.
The man was granted Danish citizenship last month and his family has identified him, Borg said. Police declined to release his name. His body was found surrounded by the zoo’s three Siberian tigers by a zookeeper early Wednesday.
Borg said the man appeared to have entered the tiger area late Tuesday from a low wall surrounding the den and then ended up in the moat inside the enclosure.
“He has been in the water and the animals must have seen that and attacked him,” Borg said. “He was killed in the water.”
Police were trying to piece together the man’s movements inside the zoo, but haven’t had any luck with security cameras. There were no surveillance cameras at the tiger enclosure.
The man only had his old residence permit and keys to his Copenhagen apartment on him, Borg said.
Copenhagen Zoo manager Steffen Straede said it was the first time in the zoo’s 152-year history that such an incident has occurred, and there were no plans to reassess its security or to put the tigers down.
“If a person really wants to get in (there), we cannot prevent it from happening,” he said.