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Who is responsible for tiger attack?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 19
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the fatal incident on June 17, when a tiger escaped from the Tbilisi Zoo in the course of unprecedented flooding in Tbilisi and attacked and claimed the life of a man.

The aim of the investigation is to reveal the individuals whose professional negligence led to the tragedy, as the Zoo Administration and the relevant state body representatives had assured people that there were no roaming predators in the capital.

The Tbilisi Zoo head Zurab Gurielidze, several employees of the Zoo and the Crises Management Department’s staff have already been interrogated.

After the questioning Gurielidze, who took the responsibility for the fatal mistake, stated that the investigators were asking details concerning the counting process of escaped, drowned and tranquillised animals.

“ We were receiving information concerning the animals from different sources, and that was the main reason of the mistake. We were informed and we thought that the tiger was drowned in the mud and we sent the information to the state bodies. Thus, it was my fault,” Gurielidze stated.

Georgia’s Prime Minister and head of the Crises Management Department Mindia Janelidze “apologised for the mistake and for misleading of people.”

They stressed that they relied on the information provided by the Zoo administration when told about the absence of wild animals in Tbilisi streets.

However, Gharibashvili dismissed the speculations with regards to the arrest of the zoo's director.

He said that Gurielidze is a high level professional who has experienced a serious tragedy recently, as his employees and more than half of his animals were killed during the flood on June 13.

“I will be one of the first protectors of Gurielidze,” the PM said.

This statement was preceded by a rally in Tbilisi with hundreds of people standing in defence of Gurielidze. The protesters stated that it was government’s fault and not Gurielidze’s that the animal attacked the individual.

“We are more afraid of injustice rather than predators,” their posters read.

The opposition shared the opinion that the accident was caused by the incompetence of relevant state bodies.

Head of the Free Democrats Irakli Alasania stated that the public and media activeness saved Gurielidze from an obvious arrest, as the government members’ statements were targeted to turn Gurielidze into a scapegoat.

Meanwhile, the Zoo administration states that a small tiger and a hyena are still missing and ask the people to phone the emergency services number, 112, if they see the animals.

Meanwhile there were several false alerts from different places of the capital