Georgia hunts down another tiger from flooded zoo

tigerGeorgian police on Friday were hunting down a tiger who escaped from the capital’s flood-ravaged zoo after after another tiger mauled a man to death before being killed.

“A large feline has been spotted by at least 15 local residents” on the outskirts of Tbilisi, Giorgi Metreveli, a professional hunter involved in the citywide police operation to locate the tiger, said in televised comments.

“The search for the animal is underway,” he said.

The Rustavi 2 television channel broadcast a few photos of the tiger that local residents had taken with their mobile phones.

“Professional hunters equipped with tranquilliser darts have joined the police operation to hunt down escaped animals,” Giorgi Gibradze, spokesman of Georgia’s Crisis Management Council, told journalists.

He said an emergency call centre had so far received 47 reports about animals apparently spotted by people in neighbourhoods across Tbilisi, “but all of them turned out to be false alarms.”

On Wednesday, a white tiger that escaped from the Tbilisi Zoo mauled a man to death in the city centre before being shot dead by police.

The zoo said on Thursday that several animals may still be at large.

“But we need to complete a thorough inventory of dead and survived animals to know for sure,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

The flash flood at the weekend tore through central Tbilisi, wrecking the zoo and killing 19 people including three zoo workers.

Lions, tigers, bears and a hippo were seen roaming the flooded streets after the disaster and were either shot dead or recaptured and returned to their enclosures.

More than half of the zoo’s 600 animals perished in the flood.

Animal rights activists have demanded an investigation into the handling of the disaster, insisting that some of the animals shot dead by police did not need to be killed.

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