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Jet Drives Tiger and Other Zoo Animals to Kill Their Offspring

July 1, 1993

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Tigers, lynx and foxes panicked when a jet buzzed their zoo, and tore apart and ate 23 of their babies, including five rare Siberian tiger cubs, the zoo owner said.

″It was stress from the big sound above us,″ Ake Netterstrom, owner of Sweden’s Froso Zoo, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. ″The mothers tried to protect their children. But they are not like human beings. They ate them to protect them. We found pieces.″

The Siberian tiger cubs, which were 1 week old, were the zoo’s main draw for 130,000 visitors a year. Netterstrom said 15 fox cubs and three lynx kittens were also killed. He called the deaths ″an economic catastrophe.″

The military jet flew over on June 22, but Netterstrom spent a week gathering information before announcing what happened. He said he wanted to build a case against the air force for a damage claim of at least $130,000.

Swedish radio said the air force acknowledged responsibility for the deaths. It said the jet did a loop at rooftop level over the zoo, which is about 300 miles north of Stockholm.

Lt. Col. Asbjorn Norling, flight chief at the air force base near the zoo, said heavy clouds forced the jet to fly low and that it passed over the park by mistake. He said training flights would be rerouted from now on.