A Japanese zookeeper has died after being attacked by a lion as he tried to feed it.
Kenichi Kato, 53, was found unconscious and bleeding from his neck inside part of the lion’s enclosure at Tohoku Safari Park in the Fukushima region on Thursday.
Colleagues say he was trying to lure the lion into a caged area using food at the time of the attack.
He entered a section of the enclosure separated from the lion’s main pen by a door, but failed to lock it.
Norichika Kumakubo, vice-president of the park, said: ‘The process is that we open the door, and place the food. Once the food is placed, the door is to be closed and locked.
But ‘the door was open at the time’, he added.
Kato was described as a beloved veteran of the zoo who had worked there for 27 years and was experienced with dangerous animals such as lions, tigers and bears.
Kumakubo added: ‘We deeply apologise to Mr Kato and his family.
‘We regard this extremely seriously. We will take measures to prevent similar accidents.’
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