Police say that the 21-year-old man broke into the zoo between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesday, but the exact time the tigers killed him is uncertain. According to the Danish newspaper Politiken
, the man was dead when staff arrived for work in the morning.
reports that police superintendent Lars Borg, told Reuters
: "We received an emergency call at about 7:30 a.m. that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person."
According to Borg, while the police have been able to determine how he got into the pen, they do not know why he went there. The Star
reports police are investigating to determine the details of his movements inside the zoo but unfortunately, there were no surveillance cameras at the tiger enclosure. According to the police, it appears that the man entered the tiger enclosure late Tuesday from a low wall surrounding the den and climbed into the moat.
Borg said: “He has been in the water and the animals must have seen that and attacked him. He was killed in the water.”
According to the police, the man was bitten in his thigh, chest, groin, face and throat. BBC
reports it is likely that it was a bite to the throat that killed him. According to ABC
, Borg said: The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death."
Police say the family of the man, who was granted Danish citizenship only last month, have identified him. He had his old residence permit and the keys to his Copenhagen apartment on him. Police believe that it may have been suicide, but Borg said: “Out of respect for next of kin we're won't get into that subject."
Police are awaiting autopsy report.
The zoo, however, was open for the day. Many visitors said they might avoid the tiger exhibit. According to The Star
, the zoo's chief Steffen Straede, said psychologists were called to talk to the staff who found the body. The Star
reports that Straede looked visibly shaken when he spoke on Danish TV. He described the death as "deeply tragic"
According to Straede, that was the first time in the zoo's 152 years that such an incident has occurred. He said that the zoo had adequate security measures and emergency plans for such occurrence. He said staff followed the plan and they were not to blame for the incident. He also said there were no plans to put the tigers down.
When he was asked how any one could have entered the enclosure if security measures were adequate, he said: “It's a bit like jumping in front of a train. If you want to do it, you can do it.”