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Bengal Tiger Kills Man in Japan

February 3, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ A Bengal tiger at an animal rental company mauled a 25-year-old employee to death Thursday during feeding time, police said.

Masaru Watanabe was left bleeding from the neck for three hours because rescuers were afraid the tiger would leap from the open cage, said police official Koshi Nishino.

A zoo official called to the scene in Machida, just outside of Tokyo, shot the animal with an anesthetic blow-gun. Watanabe was then rushed to a hospital, where he died from loss of blood, Nishino said.

It took hours for help to arrive from the zoo because the company is located in a remote wooded location, said another police spokesman, Tsutomu Tomita.

Police decided against shooting the tiger because they did not want to provoke it, he said.

Tomita said the main priority was to make sure the tiger did not harm anyone else, as it was clear from Watanabe’s wounds that he had no chance of survival.

Watanabe, who had cared for the tiger for two years, was feeding the beast in the cage when it attacked, Nishino said.

The seven-employee company, Ikeda Dobutsu Production Co., keeps a tiger, a pony, cats, dogs and birds for use in television shows, said company official Tsuneki Inoue.

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