A female tiger at London Zoo has been killed by a prospective male mate after the pair were introduced for the first time.
The Sumatran tigress, Melati, was brutally attacked after meeting her male mate, Asim, for the first time on Friday.
London Zoo said Asim “overpowered” Melati and has left everyone working at the zoo “heartbroken” by the tragic news.
Male tiger Asim, seven, had arrived at the zoo ten days ago and zookeepers initially thought there was positive signs that led them to introducing him to ten-year-old Melati.
In a statement, the zoo said: “As with all big cats, introductions, however carefully planned, are always considered to be high risk.
“This morning, the two tigers were in separate paddocks and the adjoining door was opened to allow them to meet. Asim approached Melati and, as expected by keepers, the two tigers were initially cautious.
“Their introduction began as predicted, but quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction
“Zoo staff immediately implemented their prepared response, using loud noises, flares and alarms to try and distract the pair, but Asim had already overpowered Melati.
“Zookeepers were eventually able to secure Asim in a separate paddock so that they could safely get to Melati where our vets confirmed that she had sadly died.
“Everyone at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events.”
The tiger terrority will remain closed for the rest of the day, it added.