Japanese Zookeeper Mauled to Death by Lion After He Forgets to Lock Cage While Feeding the Animal

Tohoku Safari Park
Tohoku Safari Park (left) and one of the lions at the zoo. Twitter

A 53-year-old zookeeper was mauled to death by a lion at Tohoku Safari Park in Japan's Fukushima. He was fatally attacked by the big cat when he tried to feed it and collapsed in an enclosure.

Other workers found the victim, Kenichi Kato, in a pool of blood on Thursday and rushed him to the hospital, where he succumbed to the injuries later.

Kato Forgot to Lock Door of Enclosure That Separated Him from the Lion

Kato, an experienced zookeeper, had suffered a deep bite to the neck in the attack. Primary investigation revealed that Kato, while feeding the animal, might have forgotten to lock the second door of the enclosure, which should have separated him from the big cat.

"The process is that we open the door and place the food. Once the food is placed, the door is to be closed and locked. But the door was open at the time," a senior official of the park, Norichika Kumakubo, told the media.

Zoo Shut Down Temporarily Following Attack

The zoo in the northern city of Nihonmatsu has been temporarily closed following the incident for safety management measures to be improved.

The zoo authorities apologised to Kato's family and expressed "deep regret" over the incident. They assured that measures would be taken to prevent similar accidents in the future.