• The fencing housed two tigers – Jasper and Jade
  • Jasper jumped the exterior fence and got out before attacking the employee
  • Jasper then jumped into the next door enclosure, which housed two other tigers

A Siberian tiger attacked and killed a park worker in South Africa on Wednesday while the employee was repairing the electric fence of an enclosure.

The enclosure housed two tigers – Jasper and Jade. Jasper jumped the exterior fence and got out before attacking the employee, identified as David Solomon, News24 reported.

The management of Seaview Predator Park in Gqeberha said in a statement the employee was in the passageway between enclosures, walking toward the water supply taps, when the tiger escaped.

“David attempted to climb the fence of a different enclosure to get to safety and was pulled off the fence by Jasper," the statement read. “We confirm that David obviously had bite marks but it would seem that Jasper broke David’s neck when he pulled David off the fence.”

The park said Jasper then proceeded to jump the exterior fence of the next door enclosure which houses Siberian tigers Judah and Amber.

“A fight ensued between Judah and Jasper and Judah was killed. Jasper, being an (unneutered) male Siberian tiger, wanted the attentions of Amber, a female Siberian tiger.”

Following the incident, the park shut down and people near the tiger enclosures were taken to safety.

“Members of the public who were at the restaurant were kept there until it was safe for them to return to their vehicles and exit the park.”

The park added they tranquilized Jasper and Amber to retrieve Solomon's remains as well as those of Judah.

Solomon, who had worked at the predator park for 15 years, knew the animals since they were cubs.

“We are all one big family and the loss of David has left every single one of us heartbroken and traumatized, specifically the staff members and volunteers who were present when the incident occurred," the park wrote in the statement. “David’s presence, jokes, willingness to teach our young volunteers and overall bubbling personality is going to be missed so much and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and close friends. May his dear soul rest in peace. We would like to confirm that all the large cats are safely contained in their enclosures and the electric fencing is fully functional."

Management for the park said Jasper’s incident was a first and was “obviously fuelled by hormones.”

“Jasper is now quite calm and content sharing an enclosure with Amber and there are no plans to destroy Jasper. We apologize to our visitors who had their visit cut short yesterday by the incident and would like to assure future visitors that they are quite safe.”

Siberian tiger
A frame grab taken from file video footage shows male Siberian tiger walking in his enclosure at Cologne zoo, Germany, March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Reuters TV/Files