Lion mauls zookeeper to death after turning on him after he forgot to lock the cage door

29 September 2023, 13:48

Tohoku Safari Park, Japan.
Tohoku Safari Park, Japan. Picture: Google Maps
Yaman Mohammed

By Yaman Mohammed

A seasoned zookeeper was fatally attacked by a lion while attempting to entice the animal into a cage for its meal.

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Kenichi Kato, who had dedicated 27 years to working at the popular Tohoku Safari Park in the Fukushima region of Japan, was responsible for feeding the lion.

The zookeeper was attempting to lure the lion with food but forgot to securely lock the barrier that separated him from the animal.

He was found lying unconscious inside the lion’s cage with severe neck injuries.

Mr Kato was urgently transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds.

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Lion mauled zookeeper to death. (stock image)
Lion mauled zookeeper to death. (stock image). Picture: Alamy

The precise cause of Mr Kato's lapse in securing the enclosure remains unknown.

A senior official from the park explained that it is likely Mr Kato, in his attempt to feed the lion, inadvertently forgot to secure the door that served as a barrier between him and the animal.

Norichika Kumakubo, vice-president of the park, clarified the typical procedure, stating: "The process is that we open the door, and place the food. Once the food is placed, the door is to be closed and locked.

"But the door was open at the time."

A spokesman for the zoo said: "We deeply apologise to Mr Kato and his family. We regard this extremely seriously. We will take measures to prevent similar accidents."

The zoo will remain closed for the next few days in response to the incident.

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