A seven-year-old tigress at the Delhi zoo was killed on Friday evening by a nine-year-old royal Bengal tiger when the two were left alone for mating.

According to zoo officials, tiger Rama was brought from the Mysore zoo about a month-and-a-half ago and had settled well at the zoo.

“The tiger was released into the enclosure of the tigress on Friday afternoon. The two seemed to be calm for a long time which made the zoo officials let down their guards. Then suddenly the tiger attacked the female and refused to let her go despite best efforts by the zoo staff. He let go of her only after she was dead,” said Dr. N. Panneer Selvam, Veterinary Officer, National Zoological Park.

The zoo now has three males and one female tiger. Stating that though such incidents are normal in the wild Dr. Selvam added: “However, it is for the first time that the Delhi zoo has suffered such fatality.”