Tiger which escaped from zoo after flood kills man
A tiger that broke loose after severe flooding at the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia mauled a man to death yesterday before being shot by police.
The tiger was hiding at an abandoned factory that had been turned into a construction depot when he attacked the man.
The victim later died of his wounds at a 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," the victim's 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."
An earlier ministry claim that the tiger also wounded another man proved wrong.
The Georgian government yesterday 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 in Georgia's capital.
The flooding, triggered by torrential rains over the weekend, killed at least 19 people, destroyed houses and tore up roads. Six people remain missing.
The disaster left dozens of families without homes, wiped out several roads in central Tbilisi and seriously disrupted traffic.
The zoo said that one of its 17 penguins was found alive in the Kura River near the border with Azerbaijan, 40km east of the capital. Eight other penguins had been found alive earlier.
Zoo officials say that less than half of the zoo's 600 inhabitants have survived the flooding.