Male tiger mauls intended mate to death at London Zoo

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Asim approached Melati and, as expected by keepers, the two tigers were initially cautious.

The zoo says 10-year-old Melati died Friday during her first encounter with Asim, a seven-year-old male. The tigers spent that time in adjoining enclosures to get to know each other and the zoo felt they were ready to interact.

However, nothing could prepare them from what happened when Asim and Melati met.

It was hoped that Asim, who came from a safari park in Denmark, would mate with Melati and the pair had been in adjoining pens for more than a week so they could slowly become acquainted with each other. He was matched with Melati through a Europe-wide breeding programme that aims to save the species from extinction and keepers in London had high hopes the plan would work.

"Their introduction began as predicted, but quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction". When brought together for the first time, Asim attacked and killed Melati.

The shocked handlers tried to use loud noises, flare, and alarms to try to distract the two tigers, but to no avail.

"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.

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Everyone at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events".

Heralding his arrival, the zoo described him as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life", adding that "we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our attractive Melati".

Head tiger keeper Kathryn Sanders described him as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life".

The World Wildlife Fund estimates there are only around 400 Sumatran tigers left due to the toll from poaching, deforestation and encroachment by people in Indonesia.

It said the focus now is "caring for Asim as we get through this hard event".

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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