Baghdad, Iraq - A US 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 Abdul-Majeed.
"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 Press. It was impossible to reach the US military spokesman's office because the telephones have not worked for three days.
Subsequent reports have added details. This wasn't just any tiger, but a Bengal tiger, and the most valuable animal in the zoo. Agence France-Presse tells us that the tiger bit off the soldier's finger and mauled his arm. AFP also informs us that Uday Hussein was a "lover of big cats," and that some of the cats in the zoo had been transferred from Saddam's palaces. That could be important in the upcoming investigation (immediately requested by the World Society for the Protection of Animals); one could creatively spin this to establish a terrorist connection between the beast and the late son of the Iraqi leader.