Tuesday, 22 September, New Delhi: In a macabre incident that was viewed by a lot many people but done nothing about, a 200kg white tiger named ‘Vijay’ savaged a 20 year old local to death after the latter fell into the tiger’s enclosure.
The man has been identified as Maqsood Khan, and witness reports suggest that the man might have been drunk while he was trying to click photos of the animal when he fell off the cemented fencing. Other reports suggest that the youth was mentally unstable and did not know what he was doing. However, his frightened face when the tiger approached him naturally precludes a lot of questions about whether this was actually a suicide and not an accident.
The grim incident occurred around 1:00pm on Tuesday. Bittoo, an eyewitness, told the media that the tiger had watched Maqsood for almost 15 minutes inside the moat before attacking him and dragging him away by his neck. Himanshu, another eyewitness, said that the wild cat was ultimately provoked by the bystanders and guards who tried to shoo him away by pelting stones and rocks.
Not only does this event reflect the complacency of the zoo officials, but also throws light upon the disorderly nature of the crowd that visits the place. The director of the zoo, Amitabh Agnihotri, weakly countered the criticism that the guards did not have tranquilizer guns by saying that the guns were stored at the zoo hospital, located approximately 350 feet from the tiger’s cage. Point to be noted here is that the tiger did not even touch the student for 15 minutes, and the officials were not able to organize the tranquilizers quickly enough. Apart from the lethal error being committed by the security, the behavior of the visitors needs to be scrutinized as well. People have an obtuse habit of perturbing and harassing the animals who have been deprived of their natural habitat and are living in a false, unsatisfactory one.
Zoos in India have majorly become a place for the mischievous displays of our own indolent countrymen and less a place for the observation of wild animals to gain valuable knowledge. The Central Zoo Authority, as well as the people themselves, needs to realize what’s happening and convert the zoo back to what it’s supposed to be: a place for real world education, and leisure.
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