Liberation - American Style
U.S. Soldier Shoots Tiger at Baghdad Zoo
By SABAH JERGES
Associated Press Writer
September 20, 2003, 10:32 AM CDT
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S. soldier shot and killed a tiger at the
Baghdad zoo after it bit another soldier who had reached through
the bars of its cage to feed it, a zoo security guard said Saturday.
The soldiers had been drinking beer when they entered the zoo
Thursday night after it closed, said the guard, Zuhair
"He was drunk," Abdul-Majeed said of the bitten soldier.
After the man was bit, the other American shot the tiger three
times in the head and killed it, Abdul-Majeed told The Associated
It was impossible to reach the U.S. military spokesman's office
because the telephones have not worked for three days.
The zoo reopened July 20, three months after Baghdad was
captured by the Americans.
It had 1.5 million visitors in 2001 but hit hard times more
recently. Saddam Hussein closed it for renovation last year, and
it was scheduled to reopen on April 7 with a $27 million facelift.
Instead, on that day, American troops were on the outskirts of
Baghdad, and Iraqi fighters had booted the zookeepers from the
park, setting up defensive positions among the cages.
When zoo workers returned a week later, some animals lay
dead in their cages, others had escaped when mortar rounds
blasted open the bars, and yet others had been looted.
Some wild animals roamed the park freely, including a bear that
mauled and partially ate three civilians, and three lions that were
shot to death when they tried to pounce on a contingent of
invading American soldiers.
Since then, the surviving animals have been nursed back to
health, and more animals have been brought in from a small
private zoo across town and from the private zoos found in the
palaces of Saddam's family.
Copyright Â© 2003, The Associated Press
Created By: Claire O'Connor