Yesterday, two days after a flood wrecked Tbilisi and set the city’s zoo animals on the loose, zoo officials reported that all 18 of their missing lions and tigers had been accounted for: Eight lions, seven tigers, and two jaguars were definitely dead, said a spokesman, and one jaguar was presumed dead. Today, that report was proved tragically inaccurate after an escaped white tiger killed a man who was helping with cleanup efforts in the Georgian capital.
The Washington Post reports that the encounter was outside ”a disused warehouse near the zoo.” A police spokesman told ABC News that the tiger had been inside the warehouse when two volunteer cleanup workers “stumbled upon it.” The tiger killed one of the workers when “it seized him by the throat,” a bystander told Georgia’s Imedi news channel.
Hours later, the police cornered and fatally shot the tiger. However, Georgian TV channels report that another tiger is still on the loose, and hundreds of police officers are working to apprehend or kill it, after residents of the Vake neighborhood spotted the animal near a residential building.
The continuing carnage is an additional blow to the zoo, which has lost at least half of its animals and had been pleading with police to capture escapees with tranquilizer darts instead of lethal bullets. An estimated 19 people, including three zoo employees, have died since the flooding on June 14.
Separately, an escaped penguin was found after swimming to Georgia’s border with Azerbaijan, some 35 miles (56km) away from the zoo.