White tigers maul man to death in Singapore zoo

Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:21am EST
 
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Three white tigers mauled a Malaysian to death in Singapore's zoo Thursday after the man jumped into their enclosure, a zoo official said.

Nordin Bin Montong, 32, a Malaysian working as a cleaner at the zoo, leapt into the moat of the white tiger exhibit and was attacked, said Biswajit Guha, assistant director of zoology at the Singapore Zoo in a statement.

The noise from the attack caught the attention of zookeepers nearby and they eventually managed to distract the tigers and rescue Nordin.

"Keepers managed to separate the worker from the tiger. While waiting for the ambulance, our vets attended to him," said Guha. "The worker tragically succumbed to his wound."

Singapore's Straits Times newspaper said on its website that Nordin was seen behaving in an agitated manner before he fell into the moat. Terrified visitors near the section watched the vicious attack in horror and screamed, the paper said.

According to conservation group WWF, there are about 4,000 tigers left in the world and they are considered an endangered species.

White tigers are even rarer because they suffer from a genetic condition that strips their fur of the orange pigment, leaving the animal with snow white fur, black stripes and blue eyes.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Neil Chatterjee)