September 25, 2014 5:18 pm
Updated: September 26, 2014 8:03 am

Tiger killed in fight with another tiger at Assiniboine Park Zoo

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ABOVE: Zoo officials discuss the series of events that led to the fight between the two tigers

WINNIPEG – A tiger was killed in a fight with another tiger after a gate between enclosures was mistakenly left unlocked overnight at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

Baikal, one of the Amur tigers at the Winnipeg zoo, got into the cage that housed two young males, Samkha and Vasili.

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READ MORE: Siberian tigers coming to Assiniboine Park Zoo

Vasili and Baikal fought and Baikal, an adult tiger at 19 years of age, was killed.

“Baikal had lived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo for over five years and this is a heartbreaking loss for our staff and our visitors,” Dr. Brian Joseph, director of zoological operations for the Assiniboine Park Zoo, said in a news release. “This is a tragic event and our staff are devastated.”

The two enclosures are connected by a transfer corridor and a secured gate, but the gate was left unlocked and Baikal got through it.

“Our zookeepers are well-practiced and well-trained in checking and double-checking locks,” said Dr. Chris Enright, head veterinarian at Assiniboine Park Zoo. “At this point, we don’t know how this particular incident happened but we’re proceeding with looking at it.”

The zoo is reviewing the incident and will take steps to ensure nothing similar happens in the future, officials said.

“It was a tiger being a tiger,” said Enright. “It’s a tiger defending its territory against another male he would only see as a competitor. You can’t fault the tiger for being a tiger.”

Baikal was one of four Amur, also known as Siberian, tigers at the zoo, which also has an adult female named Kendra and the two young males, two-year-olds who came from the Calgary Zoo in January. Baikal came from the Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John, N.B.

Zoo visitors were never in danger, zoo officials said.

RELATED: Winnipeg Amur tiger heads east

Reka, one of two tigers born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in 2011, died of bacterial pneumonia in August 2012.

Samkha, one of the two young tigers at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, came from the Calgary Zoo.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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