Man Found Dead In Big Cat Enclosure In Pakistan Zoo

The body was found at Bahawalpur's Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted a shoe in the mouth of one of the big cats.

Man Found Dead In Big Cat Enclosure In Pakistan Zoo

A zoo staffer said the victim's legs have been heavily mauled (Representational)

Lahore, Pakistan:

A man was found dead inside a big cat enclosure at a Pakistan zoo on Wednesday by staff carrying out routine cleaning, officials said.

The body was found at Bahawalpur's Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted a shoe in the mouth of one of the big cats.

"When they cleaned the zoo and the dens, they found the (animal) holding a shoe in its mouth," Zaheer Anwar, a senior government official in Bahawalpur, told the media.

"The staff got suspicious and then they found a body inside the den," he said.

The official described the big cat using a word that in Pakistan can mean tiger or leopard, and both are believed to be housed inside the zoo.

"Our assessment so far is that this appears to be a lunatic, because a sensible person would not jump into the den," Anwar said.

"You can see that the den is secured. There are stairs behind the den, maybe he jumped from there.

"(The) staff are all accounted for."

Zafarullah, an official of the rescue service 1122 in Bahawalpur, told AFP that the victim's legs had been heavily mauled.

"It is yet not known who he is and how he got there. It is being investigated. The body looked several hours old," said Zafarullah, who goes by one name.

He said forensic experts were examining the body.

The zoo is run by Punjab's wildlife department, according to its website, and costs adults 50 rupees (18 cents) to enter.

The department has not commented.

Pakistan's zoos are frequently accused of disregarding animal welfare.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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