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Lioness kills Zoo keeper and escapes with her mate

A lioness in a zoo in Iran killed her keeper as he was feeding her lunch and escaped with a mate, local media reported on Monday

The pair prowled around the zoo for several hours before they were captured and put back into the cage.

The official IRNA news agency said the 40-year-old victim, Esfandani, was putting meat through a feeding window when the two lions managed to open their cage.

"The lioness, which has been in the zoo for several years, managed to open a door of the cage, get out and then attack the 40-year-old guard who had just brought food to the pair of felines," a zoo employee told state broadcaster IRIB.

He said "the two animals managed to escape" Sunday from their cage in the zoo in the city of Arak, Markazi province, about 200 kilometres southwest of Tehran.

"Immediately after the incident, security forces took control of the zoo", Amir Hadi, the governor of the province was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.