New Zealand killer tiger ‘will not be put down’

Wellington, Sep 21 (IANS) A male Sumatran tiger which killed its keeper in a New Zealand zoo will not be put down, officials said on Monday.

Samantha Lynda Kudeweh, 43, was a senior member of Hamilton Zoo’s team and had been a zoo keeper for over 20 years, Radio New Zealand reported.

Kudeweh was killed on Sunday by the tiger called Oz. No details have been released of how the incident happened, but city officials said there was “no reason” to euthanise Oz.

“We’re aware there is a lot of interest and speculation around how we manage Oz now, and I want to assure the public and zoo supporters that he will not be put down,” Hamilton City Council general manager Lance Vervoort said.

“Although there is an inherent risk for zoo professionals who manage big cats like Oz, there is no wider ongoing risk. There is no reason for us to put Oz down.”

Several investigations are under way at the zoo and officials have not confirmed whether Kudeweh was authorised to be in the enclosure with Oz.

But Vervoort said the widely held view was that Oz had acted in line with his natural instincts.

The zoo is set to remain closed until Thursday.

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