Endangered Tiger Shot And Killed After Unauthorized Worker Reached Into Cage And Bitten
Published: January 02, 2022 at 01:47 PM Author: Penny Eims
A rare Malaysian tiger was shot and killed last week after an unauthorized member of a third-party zoo cleaning crew reached into his cage to either feed or try to pet the animal. The eight-year-old tiger, named Eko, was in his enclosure at Florida’s Naples Zoo when the man, 26-year-old River Rosenquist, reached in and was bitten on his arm.
Rosenquist phoned 911 to call for help on Wednesday night after the tiger failed to release his arm. His call began with, “Help me! I’m at Naples Zoo! I’m being attacked by a tiger please, please, please!”
A responding deputy from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office tried to get Eko to release the man’s arm, but when his efforts failed, he was forced to shoot the big cat, who retreated from the area. Eko was later found deceased. Jack Mulvena, president and CEO of Naples Zoo, watched video footage of what happened and had no criticism for the deputy who was forced to kill Eko, telling CNN:
“Their deputy tried to distract the tiger first, as you saw from the footage, and faced a very difficult decision — and we support that decision.”
Rosenquist may face charges – according to Mulvena, the man should not have been anywhere near Eko’s enclosure. He said, “Their job is very specific, and they’re not to be in any areas that they’re not supposed to be in.”
After Eko’s death, the zoo posted a statement about the tragic incident:
“It is a very sad day at Naples Zoo, we have lost our Malayan tiger, Eko. He was 8 years old and he came to Naples Zoo in December of 2019. He will be deeply missed and we sincerely appreciate the love and support of the community as we navigate this difficult time.
Naples Zoo will be closed today, December 30th. The decision to close today was made to allow officials to complete their investigation late into the evening. This decision was also made to allow the Zoo to begin its own internal investigation and to allow our staff to process what has occurred and to begin the painful healing process. A grief counselor will be available for staff beginning today. We will reopen at 9 a.m. tomorrow and we thank our community for their understanding and for the messages and words of encouragement and support that have been flowing into us.”
You can read more about Eko at this link to the Naples Zoo website.