White Tiger Kills Man at Zoo

Tiger kills youth in Delhi Zoo: This is the news headline of all national dailies on Wednesday. One of the most horrifying incidents that left visitors in a shock in Delhi zoo, when in the front of their eyes, a 20 year young man was killed by a white tiger. Recorded live by many onlookers, it was indeed a hair-raising incident that took place on Tuesday.

Maqsood, a factory worker and resident of central Delhi’s Anand Parbat came to zoo yesterday, and reportedly mentally unstable, he did not tell his parents where he was going out but promised his mother to come back home for lunch, but little did he know that it would be the last day of his life. According to eye-witnesses and zoo officials, Maqsood fell into the animal’s moat in the zoo. The incident took place between 12.30 pm and 1 pm. Though there is a barrier in the form of a fence for visitors to see this majestic six-foot, seven-year-old, 200 kg white tiger, which is one of the zoo’s prime attractions, Maqsood jumped over the stand-off barrier and stood on the edge to see the tiger. As ill-luck would have it, he slipped and fell into the ditch below, which is part of the enclosure of the white tiger.

What the video clips show

Footages of video clips and photos taken by onlookers show that initially the tiger stood still just in front of the boy, just face-to-face, appeared to be surprised by seeing a human in its habitat. It is said that when the youth fell, the tiger approached him and silently watched him for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, the onlookers and the guard started shouting and threw stones at the tiger to divert its attention. Probably that was the reason which provoked the tiger and it attacked him. The tiger grabbed Maqsood by the neck and dragged him away but eventually let go of him and retreated.

According to zoo officials, the guard in that area had repeatedly warned Maqsood not to get too close to the outdoor enclosure. But, he did not pay heed to the warnings and climbed over the fence, and then fell down into the 18-feet protective moat. To create a barrier for the visitors, this enclosed space is separated by a concrete ditch and shrubs on the tiger’s side and a two-foot railing. Authorities managed to draw the tiger into a small cage inside the enclosure while Maqsood’s body remained in the outdoor enclosure for almost 2 hours.

Why the zoo authorities are blamed?

The zoo authorities have been booked for causing death by negligence. Well, both the Zoo authorities and the public are to be blamed equally for such mis-happenings in the zoo.

  • It is to be noted that timely intervention could have saved Maqsood’s life as the man eater did not attack Maqsood in the first instant. In fact, Maqsood stayed on the ground for about 10-15 minutes with pleading hands before the tiger that came face-to-face with him. He was injured on his neck from tiger’s bites and claws which eventually killed him. The guard on duty called up officials through wireless but it was too late by then.
  • The zoo authorities claimed only one guard is assigned per enclosure. But considering the number of visitors and the size of the zoo, more guards should be appointed, especially in those areas which have a large crowd. For instance, this white tiger is a major attraction in the zoo. So one guard for the huge enclosure was not a good idea.
  • The moat which acts as a barrier should have been full of water. This could also have prevented the tiger to come close to the victim. It is not that tigers cannot swim but it would have given some time for the victim to escape. But, strangely it was kept dry. Zoo officials said that it was kept dry because the water quality is very poor.
  •  The guard on duty should be have been trained to use tranquiliser guns but officials said, tranquiliser guns are only used in the hospitals by the veterinary doctors and not the security personnel.
  • Had there been more number of officials in the affected spot, they could have kept the tiger at bay by spraying water. But they reached the spot very late.
  • For emergency circumstances, ladders, water supply, tranquiliser guns, alarms should be kept in handy. Had there been a collapsible ladder near the spot, the guard could have saved Maqsood’s life by pulling him out of the enclosure.

The public’s fault

  • We have full sympathy for Maqsood’s family. But we cannot deny the fact that he is equally to be blamed. Had he not crossed the barrier, in spite of repeated warnings, such an untoward incident could have been avoided.
  • This incident is a general warning for all visitors to zoo. Can we blame the tiger for this? No not at all. It is a wild animal in captivity and saw an unusual object falling into its habitat. It did not attack Maqsood immediately. But yes, when the visitors started pelting stones, it retorted. A similar incident took place 6 years ago when a man fell into a lioness’ enclosure but thankfully the lioness spared his life.
  • Visitors are insensitive to animals in the zoo. They throw stones at them. They tease the animals. This should be a warning message to all visitors to zoos to stop throwing stones at the animals.
  • Visitors should stay out of the enclosures of the wild animals.
  • Visitors are warned not to get too close to enclosures of animals. There are boards with warnings all around the zoo. But, most of the time, visitors ignore these warnings.

This hair-raising incident should be a warning message to all zoos in the country to review their safety measures and ensure the safety of the visitors at all enclosures of the wild animals and others. In the same manner, the public as visitors should also maintain the decorum of the zoo and do not disturb the animals and the natural habitat created for them.