Lion mauls keeper to death after escaping cage before being shot at tourist centre

The lion was kept in a tourist center as part of a private collection and the zoo keeper was found dead after escaping from the animal’s cage

The goalkeeper, named 33-year-old Santos Esquivel Najera, was found dead outside the cage (

Image: Newsflash)

A lion has been shot dead in Guatemala after escaping from its cage and beating its keeper to death.

The 20-year-old big cat was being held at the Saint Elizabeth Tourist Center in El Chal when the attack occurred on November 20.

The keeper, known as 33-year-old Santos Esquivel Najera, was found dead outside the cage.

The lion was registered on Walter Obdulio Mendoza Mata, who was arrested in 2019, and belonged to a private collection of animals at the tourist center.

The big cat escaped and National Civil Police (PNC) officers subsequently shot the lion.

The Ministry of Public Health and Welfare has confirmed that it is investigating the incident.

The Ministry of Public Health and Welfare has confirmed that the incident is under investigation
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Image:

News)

The big cat escaped, and National Civil Police (PNC) officers subsequently shot the lion
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Image:

News)

In the meantime, the victim’s family has announced that they will take legal action against the tourist center.

According to the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), the lion was registered by Walter Obdulio Mendoza Mata in 2006.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2019 for intimidating farmers into leaving their lands in Izabal and Peten departments.

He used armed gangs to evict the villagers from their fields before claiming property through notaries.

The animal welfare organization Guate Unida por los Animales has asked the local authorities to examine the other animals in the tourist center. The government should crack down on the caging of animals in zoos and circuses such as in Costa Rica.

The group also criticized the killing of an “innocent animal” after the lion escaped.

The investigation continues.

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