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Person flown to the hospital after tiger attack at Florida zoo

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Posted at 8:01 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 22:01:32-05

NAPLES, Fla.  — Authorities in Florida say a man is in serious condition Wednesday night after a tiger attack at the Naples Zoo.

Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies say that the man is a member of a third-party cleaning service contracted by the zoo.

They added that the man was seriously injured when he entered an unauthorized area near a tiger inside its enclosure around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"Preliminary information indicates that the man was either petting or feeding the animal, both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities," CCSO wrote in a Facebook post. "Initial reports indicate that the tiger grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it into the enclosure after the man traversed an initial fence barrier and put his arm through the fencing of the tiger enclosure."

The sheriff's office added that the cleaning company is responsible for cleaning restrooms and the gift shop, not the animal enclosures.

The first deputy on scene kicked the enclosure and tried to get the tiger to release the man’s arm from its mouth, but the deputy was forced to shoot the animal, according to police.

The man, who is in his 20s, was seriously injured and was transported to an area hospital by Collier County EMS as a trauma alert.

At this time, police added that the status of the tiger is unclear. The 4-year-old male Malayan tiger retreated to the back of the enclosure after it was shot.

When police flew a drone into the enclosure, the tiger was not responding.

A veterinarian has sedated the animal and will examine it when it is safe to do so, police said.

This is a developing story. Stay with ABC 27 for updates.