“Tiger kills zoo worker,” is still in the headlines today as the investigation into this gruesome tiger mauling continues. Authorities are centering this probe around what could have possibly prompted the worker to make her way into the tiger enclosure, which is against protocol at this zoo and something this veteran worker of the zoo never did before.
It is believed this gruesome tiger mauling which led to the death of a 24-year-old staff member, may be due to a failure in “systems and protocols,” which is what the investigation is centered on today. According to the BBC on May 25, 2013, zoo officials say that there was no reason for Sarah McClay to be inside the tiger enclosure.
McClay was a veteran staff member at the South Lakes Wild Animals Park in the U.K. and she knew the protocols. She followed these protocols daily, which were put into place so a staff member at the zoo would never enter the inside of the tiger enclosure with a tiger.
The owner of the park, David Gill, said that there was “no reason for Ms. McClay to be in the enclosure with the tigers.” At this stage the authorities are not considering this a criminal investigation. The concentration of this investigation is how McClay and the animal came into contact.
Police report that the zoo has a series of compartments connected by lockable doors in the tiger enclosure. It is designed so a tiger and a staff member will never be in the same compartment at the same time, according to DB Techno.
This series of locked compartments was not the problem, it was the system in place to ensure staff and animals were kept apart that had “failed,” according to police. Cumbria Police detective Andrew Slattery said that the inquiry is now centered on “the management of dangerous animals.” It may never be known why McClay went into the tiger enclosure with the tiger, but it was so unlike her from all reports coming out of this gruesome mauling story today.
24-year-old McClay was attacked by a 10-year-old Sumatran tiger that had been with the zoo since it was a cub. The tiger didn’t do anything wrong, it was just doing what its instincts dictate, so the animal is not going to be destroyed. McClay was alive after the tiger mauled her at the zoo and she was airlifted to a hospital where she died shortly after arrival from the serious head and neck wounds from the attack.
The tiger attacked McClay during business hours at the zoo, there were folks visiting the zoo at the time. It is believed that at least one visitor saw the attack. The park closed early and the zoo had a staff meeting. The consensus was to keep the park up and running the rest of the week, as there was never any danger to the public or anyone that worked for the zoo as long as the protocols are followed.
According to Gill, the owner of the zoo, “We have very strict protocols and procedures for working with big cats, but it seems she failed to follow correct procedures.”