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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

White tiger shot in Georgia after escape from zoo

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A paniced tiger responsible for killing a man after escaping from Tbilisi zoo in Georgia during floods has been killed.

Residents were told to stay indoors from Sunday onwards, as police conducted the hunt looking for lions, tigers, hippos and other dangerous animals which had escaped across the city.

The Interior Ministry in the former Soviet republic said the tiger was hiding in an abandoned factory that had been turned into a construction market when it attacked the man. The victim later died of his wounds in hospital.

“We entered the depot and, suddenly, a white tiger rushed out of an adjacent room and attacked one of the workers, jumping at his throat and mauling him,” colleague Alexander Shavbulashvili said.

“We broke the window of another room to flee, and the sound of breaking glass must have scared it and it ran away.”

Police commandos rushed to the site and killed the tiger.

“It was a white tiger,” Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri said. “We wanted to sedate it, but it was very aggressive and we had to liquidate it.”

Zoo spokeswoman Khatia Basilashvili could not immediately offer any details about the dead tiger.

The Georgian government on Wednesday harshly criticised zoo officials for failing to provide reliable information.

On Tuesday, zoo officials said all eight lions, seven tigers and at least two of the zoo’s three jaguars were killed in the flooding.

The flooding, triggered by torrential rain over the weekend, killed at least 19 people, destroyed houses and tore up roads. Six people remain missing.

The zoo said on Wednesday that one of its 17 penguins was found alive by Georgian border guards in the Kura River near the border with Azerbaijan, 25 miles east of the capital. Eight other penguins had been found alive earlier.

Zoo officials say less than half of the zoo’s 600 inhabitants have survived the flooding.

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