Man found half-eaten by zoo tigers after one of the apex predators was seen with a shoe in its mouth

A tiger behind a fence in a zoo setting - stock photo
A tiger behind a fence in a zoo setting - stock photoPhotography by Dave Bond
  • A man was mauled to death by tigers in a Pakistani zoo enclosure.

  • The victim's remains were discovered after staff saw a shoe in one of the tigers' mouths.

  • A local senior government official described the man, who climbed into the enclosure, as a "lunatic."

A zoo in Pakistan was shut down after a man was mauled and killed by tigers, CBS News reports.

The body was found during a routine cleaning on Wednesday morning after staff spotted one of the tigers with a shoe in its mouth.

The man reportedly jumped into the tiger enclosure.

The circumstances surrounding the attack, believed to have occurred late Tuesday night, are under investigation. The victim, yet to be identified, is speculated to have been alive during the attack.

"The zoo is closed right now as we determine how the man got in," said Ali Usman Bukhari, a senior officer of the province's wildlife department, which operates the zoo, per CBS News.

The Bahawalpur Zoo in Punjab is managed by the Government of Pakistan, according to the zoo's website.

"The autopsy report has not been released, however evidence gathered from the enclosure points towards him being alive when he was attacked by the tigers," Bukhari said.

Bukhari pledged to address any security lapses and consider hiring private security guards if necessary.

Senior local government official Zaheer Anwar, speaking to the media outside the zoo, expressed initial assessments that the victim may have been acting irrationally, per CBS News.

"Our assessment so far is that this appears to be a lunatic, because a sensible person would not jump into the den," he remarked, pointing out the secured nature of the enclosure.

The three tigers reportedly involved in the incident have been confined to a smaller space while authorities collect evidence.

Sherbagh Zoo, established in 1942 by the ruling royal family of Bahawalpur, features modern moated enclosures for lions, tigers, and hyenas.

Pakistani zoos have often faced criticism for their poor conditions and alleged neglect of animal welfare. In 2020, the remains of a missing teenage boy were discovered in the lion enclosure of a zoo in Lahore, per the BBC.

Damning reports have also been made against a zoo in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, Deutsche Welle reports. The animals are allegedly malnourished and kept in cramped enclosures.

WWF wrote that there are "many animal welfare issues in captive facilities in Pakistan."

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