BEIJING: A zookeeper in southern China was killed reportedly by a tiger at a controversial wildlife centre, notorious for selling 'tiger wine', media reports said.
The man, aged around 50, went to clean a tiger enclosure with a colleague at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in Guilin, a city in the Guangxi autonomous region on Tuesday, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
His colleague left the man, who has not been named, alone in the enclosure.
His family were told later that day that he had been mauled by the tiger, the paper quoted state-run China National Radio as reporting.
Family members told the radio station that they went to the park yesterday demanding compensation and, above all, an explanation as to how he had died as they had not been given any evidence to back up the zoo's claims.
The wildlife centre has been frequently criticised for its sale of products such as 'tiger wine'.
In 2004, another keeper at the zoo was killed when he was attacked by a lion at feeding time.
com reported that the park has been closed since late 2017 for remodelling, and in recent years has been building additional facilities such as a five-star hotel and Chinese medicine research centres and production facilities.
The park has become notorious for selling traditional "medicines" such as wine apparently made using bones and other body parts from tigers despite questions about the legality of the trade.
According to some media reports, tiger skeletons are steeped in alcohol to produce expensive elixirs, which are still sold around China for high prices, the report said.
The sale of tiger bones has been illegal on mainland China since 1993.
The animal centre advertises itself as home to thousands of wild animals, including over 1,300 tigers, 400 black bears, 200 African lions, as well as monkeys, birds and crocodiles.