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Loose tiger kills man in Georgia

A construction market worker has died after a tiger attack in Tbilisi. The zoo had said earlier that no dangerous predators were on the loose after a flood destroyed several animal enclosures on the weekend.

A man was mauled to death by a tiger in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Wednesday after severe flooding in the capital

freed many animals from their zoo enclosures

earlier in the week. The police wanted to sedate the white tiger, but it was "very aggressive" and they said they had no choice but to shoot it.

The incident came a day after officials had said that all of the zoo's tiger had died.

Zoo Director Zurab Gurielidze admitted that he was at fault for the incorrect statement, and told the press that new reports indicated that at least one hyena and a tiger cub could still be on the loose.

"We had wrong information that there were no predators outside the zoo," said Gurielidze following sharp criticism from the country's prime minister, "I take full responsibility for that."

Georgia's interior ministry said that the tiger had been hiding in the victim's workplace, a construction market that had previously been an abandoned factory. After the attack the man was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his wounds.

"We entered the depot and suddenly a white tiger rushed out of an adjacent room and attacked one of the workers, jumping at his throat," one colleague told the Associated Press. "We broke the window of another room to flee, and the sound of breaking glass must have scared it and it ran away."

The flooding caused by heavy rains over the weekend killed at least nineteen people, tore up roads and destroyed homes. Six people remain missing.

The Tbilisi Zoo said on Wednesday that one of its 17 of its missing penguins was found alive at the Georgian border with Azerbaijan, some 40 kilometers east of the capital.

es/rc (AP, Reuters)

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