Munster Zoo Director Joerg Adler told reporters witnesses saw the 10-year-old tiger Rasputin biting the 56-year-old zoo worker in the neck in an enclosure the cat shared with another Siberian tiger, named Nely, WDR.de reported.
Fire department spokesman Dieter Knaack said the tiger jumped the victim from behind and killed him "by a targeted neck bite. The [minder] had no chance, he was killed instantly," Bild.de reported.
Knaack said the incident, which occurred during a public feeding of the cats, posed no threat to the public but the zoo was closed to the public afterward.
Joerg said the victim, identified only as Martin H., "loved his animals" and was apparently taken for an intruder by Rasputin, who came to the Munster Zoo in 2005 from the Leipzig Zoo.