Chinese man killed by zoo tiger ‘scaled two 3m walls to avoid paying entrance fee’

Four visitors who tried sneaking into the same zoo in 2006 were nearly killed by lions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 10:46am

A man who was mauled to death by a tiger at a zoo in eastern China on Sunday was found to have climbed two three-metre walls to avoid paying the entrance fee, according to the official announcement by the zoo.

A video taken on Sunday showing a tiger dragging the man covered in blood around in its compound at the Ningbo Youngor Zoo in Zhejiang province went viral on the internet.

One tiger was shot and killed while zoo staff tried various methods to save the man, including setting off firecrackers to drive it and its companions away.

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The badly injured Zhang was rescued more than an hour later, but was later declared dead in hospital

The zoo was evacuated as investigators tried to find out how the man entered the tiger enclosure that is separated from visitors by a moat and a stone wall.

Late on Sunday, the Ningbo Oriental Fortune Lake Tourism District Management Group, which is in charge of the zoo, issued a statement on its Weibo account saying that the dead man, surnamed Zhang, and a friend, surnamed Li, had not bought entrance tickets.

“Zhang and Li climbed over a three-metre wall from the northwest side of the zoo, ignoring warning signs along the wire fence, before scaling over another three-meter into the tiger enclosure. Zhang entered the pen. Li did not.”

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According to the statement, the men brought their wives as well as Zhang’s two children to the zoo. The children and the two wives paid the entrance fee.

The adult entrance fee to the zoo costs up to 130 yuan (HK$147) while children pay 70 yuan.

Four visitors who also tried sneaking into the same zoo in 2006 were nearly killed by lions.

Zhang, 40, was from Hubei, his family said. He had worked in Ningbo since 2000 and earned several thousand yuan a month. His family described him as an “underprivileged employee”.

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Many Weibo users, however, appeared unsympathetic towards the dead man.

“The tiger is so innocent, it is not his fault. Why did they shoot it?” said a comment that was liked nearly 48,000 times by noon on Monday.

“This man jumped to his own death, who can he blame? If he does not follow the rules set by men then of course the rule of nature will take over,” said another comment.