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China: Around The Nation

Siberian tiger killed in fight to the death with big cat ‘pal’ at Chinese zoo

Keepers tried to separate the beasts but were unable to stop younger rival delivering fatal bite to his victim’s throat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 August, 2017, 6:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 August, 2017, 6:35pm

A Siberian tiger was killed on Sunday after being attacked by a Bengal tiger with which it shared an enclosure at a zoo in southwestern China, local media reported.

The deadly encounter happened about 10:40am on Sunday morning at Kunming Zoo in Yunnan province, news portal Yunnan.cn reported on Tuesday.

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The victim was an 18-year-old Siberian tiger named Maomao, while his attacker was a 14-year-old Bengal tiger called Xiaohu, the report said.

Yang Ge, director of the zoo’s animal management department, said that the big cats knew each other well and regularly scuffled, but had never before got into a serious fight.

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“There were some minor conflicts between them.” Yang was quoted as saying. “They sometimes bit each other, but only in a playful manner, and nothing serious.”

Keepers at the zoo witnessed the attack and tried to separate the big cats, but were unable to save Maomao, the report said.

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“Xiaohu was younger and stronger, but we never thought he would launch a lethal attack,” Yang said, adding that Xiaohu dispatched his rival with a bite to the throat, which would have caused suffocation.

The whole thing was over in about a minute, the report said.

The zoo said it would report the incident to the local forestry authority and process Maomao’s body according to the regulations.