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Czech zookeeper Miroslav Vít was saved when two fellow keepers put their lives at risk to drag him free after he was pounced on and mauled by an escaped white tiger at a zoo in the north Bohemian town of Liberec.

Vít although badly hurt is expected to survive after he was hospitalised following the attack.

The two rescuers were also bitten and scratched by the tiger but managed to drive it off leaving the beast to prowl around the evacuated for an hour before it could be shot with a tranquilliser dart and put back in its cage.

Zoo managers have been criticised for not taking action sooner and putting lives at risk by not shooting the extremely rare white tiger because they did not want to lose their star attraction.

The seven-year-old tiger is one of the area's famous white tigers that no longer exist at all in the wild.

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