A Japanese zookeeper was mauled to death by a tiger Saturday while he was cleaning the animal's cage, police said.

Atsushi Ito was attacked by the 330-pound male tiger at the Kyoto City Zoo in western Japan. A female visitor to the zoo found Ito lying bleeding in the cage.

"The tiger bit him on the neck, face and head," said Toshiomi Ootaguro, a Kyoto police official.
"He was cleaning the cage. After the attack, he was rushed to a nearby hospital, but he was already in cardiac arrest," Ootaguro said.

Police suspected Ito had failed to lock a door that connected two cages, allowing the 11-year-old tiger to slip into the area the man was cleaning. The male tiger is one of a pair at the zoo, which was closed after the accident.

Zoo officials could not be reached for comment.