A rare South China tiger mauled a Shanghai zookeeper to death today after the 56-year-old man entered and began cleaning the animal's enclosure.
The incident happened at the zoo's breeding facility where the Associated Press reports that safety procedures are in place. The tiger was a 9-year-old male with no prior record of aggression.
It is believed the man, surnamed Zhou, forgot to close a gate when he entered the area. The Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau is investigating the incient, Shanghai Daily reports.
South China tigers have not been seen in the wild for more than 25 years. The World Wildlife Fund classifies the subspecies as functionally extinct: Even if few individuals remain in the wild, there is neither adequate habitat nor prey left for reintroduction.
Shanghai Zoo is one of China's largest and most popular urban animal parks.