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After drunken party, US soldier kills tiger

September 21, 2003 02:32 IST
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The Americans are finding the going tough in Iraq.

After attracting bad publicity by mistakenly killing civilians, the US troops seem to have gone one step further.

An American soldier shot and killed a rare Royal Bengal tiger in Baghdad Zoo during a drunken party on Thursday night, a news agency reports

"The soldiers arrived in the evening with food and beer, accompanied by a group of Iraqi police officers," head of the zoo Adel Salman Musa said of the incident.

"One of the soldiers, who the Iraqi police said had drunk a lot, went into the cage against the advice of his colleagues and tried to feed the animal who severely hurt his arm," he added.

The tiger, said the news agency, tore off the soldier's fingers and mauled his arm. Another US soldier immediately fired at the animal and killed it.

"The soldiers don't have the right to behave like that. That was the most precious and valuable animal in the whole zoo. It was 14 years old and had been born here," Musa said.

The Royal Bengal tiger is an endangered species, which is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the World Conservation Union. There are only 3,000-4,500 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild.

Musa also added that US soldiers often held parties in the zoo in the evenings. "We have no way of stopping them," he added.

US Sergeant Mark Ingham confirmed that an American soldier had killed the tiger on Thursday and said the incident was being investigated.


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