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Tiger kills a man in Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 18
A white tiger attacked and killed a man in central Tbilisi on June 17.The terrible tragedy came after the statements of the relevant state bodies that all the wild animals had either been returned to the zoo or were killed by special forces or drowned after the flooding in Tbilisi.

The incident took place on Laguna Vere, Vake District, in an old store house.

According to witnesses, several workers went to the store house in order to clean it. However, the tiger appeared and attacked one of them, who died at the scene.

The tiger was killed after a special forces unit of the armed forces responded to the reports.

One of the workers of the store house stated that he saw the tiger a day before the fatal attack, all smeared in mud, motionless.

“As it appears he was wounded or tranquillised and then came to mind. In the morning we mentioned he was no longer lying there, but we thought he was transported by one of the city services,” the worker said.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Crisis Management Department stress that they “trusted” the information provided by the Zoo administration that no wild animals were walking freely in Tbilisi streets.

“We were assured that no wild animals were out, but regrettably we found out the information was incorrect. We have the information that is delivered by the zoo administration, I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the information,” Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri said.

However, in the previous days and after the state officials’ statements with regard to safety in the capital the zoo administration representatives stated that two tigers, one bear and a hyena were still unaccounted for.

Later, the head of the Zoo Press Service Mzia Sharashidze stated that they received information concerning one of the tigers.

Since the man was attacked by the tiger, the head of the Tbilisi Zoo Zurab Gurielidze said that in the morning, before the accident, they recounted the animals and found out that one tiger was still missing.

They hoped that the missing animals were drowned and did not create a threat for citizens.

The opposition United National Movement has criticized the government, calling them “irresponsible.”

They stressed that the authorities failed to protect the lives of its citizens due to their incompetence.

The Minister of Justice stated that the investigation should reveal responsible individuals and get them accountable for the fatal case.

Analysts say that even in the event that the government had information concerning the animals they were obliged to recheck the information and take all preventive measures, controlling the area via helicopters among them.

Animals escaped from the zoo after the unprecedented flooding of the river Vere in the capital on June 13. The zoo area was completely devastated.

Fatalities from the flooding increased to 19 people, according to the State Security and Crisis Management Council.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stressed that material loss has climbed to more than 100 million GEL.