A woman was killed by a tiger over the weekend after jumping out of a car in a Beijing animal park to try to save her daughter from a tiger attack, local government officials said.
At least one tiger mauled the women on Saturday at Badaling Wildlife World in a section that allows people to drive their own vehicles through a Siberian tiger enclosure, the Yanqing County government said in a written statement.
Surveillance video that circulated widely online showed a woman exit a car, then walk to the other side of the vehicle, where she was attacked a few seconds later by a tiger. As the animal dragged her away, her husband and mother jumped out in an attempt to rescue her.
The woman left the car because of an argument with her husband, reported The Legal Evening News, based in Beijing. The Beijing News, also based in the Chinese capital, quoted a friend of the family who denied that the couple had been fighting.
The woman who was first attacked was badly injured, and her mother, who left the car in an effort to save her daughter, was killed, The Beijing News reported. The woman’s husband was uninjured, as was their child, who remained in the vehicle, the newspaper said.
The park, near a famous section of the Great Wall in a county north of central Beijing, has had serious safety problems before. In March, a park employee was killed by an elephant. A security guard who stepped out of a patrol vehicle was killed by a tiger in 2014.
In 2009, an 18-year-old man was killed by a tiger in the park after he scaled a fence with two friends to enter the animals’ enclosure. The men had apparently been trying to take a shortcut through the park after a hike along the Great Wall, reported Xinhua, a state-run news agency.
While the number of wild tigers in China has dropped to fewer than two dozen living in the far northeast, where they cross back and forth into Russia, thousands of tigers are raised in parks around the country. Visitors to parks in cities like Harbin can pay to feed them, sometimes with live animals. Critics say such breeding programs do little to help wild populations and are sometimes used as cover for the illegal trade in animal parts, like tiger pelts and wine made from their bones.