A mating session between two Sumatran tigers at the ZSL London Zoo ended in grisly tragedy after the male lethally mauled the female.
The bloody attack occurred Friday when the beasts, interacting for the first time, began attacking each other.
The 10-year-old female, named Melati, a longtime zoo denizen, was expected to mate with recent arrival, 7-year-old male Asim. Despite extremely careful monitoring in the same enclosure, Asim pounced on Melati. Stunned handlers desperately attempted to split them apart with alarms, thunderous noise and even alarms, but nothing worked, reported The Associated Press.
“Their introduction began as predicted, but quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction,” read a ZSL London Zoo statement.
For 10 days, the zoo kept Asim in a separate enclosure away from Melati as zoologists allowed them time to become familiar with each other’s presence and scents. Then they waited for the proper time to be introduced. But when the tigers were placed in the same enclosure, Asim besieged Melati as shocked handlers tried in vain to intervene.
It was a devastating conclusion to the hope the two would breed as part of a European tiger conservation program for the endangered species.
“Everyone at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events,” read the zoo statement.
Zoo officials ares now focusing on caring for Asim.
Asim’s arrival at the zoo last week had been much heralded, showing him on the prowl while being described as a “strapping Sumatran tiger.”