Update as of 7:39 a.m. EDT: A tiger that escaped from the zoo and killed a man following floods in Tbilisi, Georgia, has been shot dead, Agence France-Presse reported, citing officials. AFP had earlier reported that it was a lion that had killed the man.
“It was one tiger. It has been liquidated,” Nino Giorgobiani told AFP.
Animal rights activists in Georgia are seeking answers over the killing of zoo animals that escaped, following heavy floods over the weekend in the capital Tbilisi. The activists launched the attack against police officers after zoo workers complained that some officers took selfies alongside the dead bodies of animals, according to reports on Tuesday.
Volunteers and zoo workers accused the special police units of shooting the animals even when they did not pose any harm to humans, the Guardian reported.
According to Lasha Chkhartishvili, head of Georgia's Animals Rights Protection Centre, the policemen used "excessive force" against the animals, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Tbilisi spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze told AFP: "It would be good to carry out an investigation."
The dead included a white lion cub, named Shumba, one of the popular animals in the zoo. The cub was reportedly known for its friendship with a poodle. The United Nations said Shumba was "shot in the head on sight," AFP reported. While zookeepers confirmed the cub’s death, they were not sure about the cause of its death.
It reportedly remains unclear how many of the 300 animals of the zoo were alive. According to BBC, the lower area of the zoo was worst hit by the floods. It housed bears, tigers and lions in special enclosures. According to Sky News, all the missing tigers were found dead. Of the 13 wolves in the zoo, only two survived.
"It's a big tragedy for us," Tbilisi Mayor David Narmania told BBC. "We have managed to capture some animals that went loose, and we are continuing the search."
Meanwhile, a lion that escaped from the zoo killed a man near the city's central square, AFP reported, citing a spokeswoman for the interior ministry. "Police special forces were deployed and are hunting down the animal," she said.
Following the flooding, municipal authorities joined hands with government emergency workers and army recruits to conduct the clean-up operation of the zoo, BBC reported.
The floods in Tbilisi caused by torrential downpour reportedly left at least 15 people dead and destroyed the homes of about 40 families. At least 10 people were reported missing.