A female zookeeper has been killed in Germany after a tiger escaped from its enclosure and attacked her.
The 43-year-old woman was cornered by the animal after it found its way through a gate that had not been properly shut and wandered into a nearby storage building, police said.
The woman, who has not yet been named, was mauled and bitten and died of her wounds at Cologne Zoo.
A police SWAT team was called, but before it arrived Theo Pagel, the zoo's director, shot the tiger dead with a rifle that he aimed from a safe vantage point through the storage building's skylight. It was feared that the tiger had been about to make its way into visitor areas, said police spokesman Stefan Kirchner.
Police briefly cleared the area as a precautionary measure, though officials said the public was never in any danger.
Mr Kirchner said it was unlikely that members of the public had witnessed the incident, which occurred around noon (1000 GMT) on Saturday.
According to the Cologne newspaper Express, the tiger was a male called "Altai."
Mr Pagel said: "This is the darkest day of my life. I shot and killed the animal so that we could enter ... and take a look. But the employee was already dead."
The zoo later re-opened, but a planned late-night opening was canceled.
Altai, a four-year-old Siberian tiger, was moved to Cologne Zoo in April last year and was paired with a female from France. He can be seen in YouTube footage posted to the website in 2011.
According to a statement from the zoo, the keeper had been experienced in working with tigers.
Cologne Zoo in western Germany, founded in 1860, is one of the oldest and best-known in the country and is home to some 10,000 animals from 700 species.