Animal Attack Files Special ReportSpecial Report forwarded by AAF Correspondent: Jeff Dykes
from The Hindu

HOME   Tiger kills youth in safari park

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

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By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, OCT. 19. Eighteen-year-old Mohammed Khaja was mauled to death by a tiger at the Nehru Zoological Park here on Tuesday afternoon when he fell into the Tiger Safari park trying to catch a kite after clambering a 20 ft. wall and a steel mesh atop it.

This is the second such incident in the safari park. Five years ago, a boy entered into it in search of a ball after having a bet with his friends that he would fetch it.

The Zoo Curator, Mr. K. N. Banerjee, said Mohammed Khaja, a resident of Mohammednagar Colony abutting the zoo, fell into the 40-acre Tiger Safari park with thick undergrowth and was almost immediately attacked by the lone tiger which was roaming around at that time. Usually at least four tigers are present in the safari park for the visitors to watch them through fortified vans.

The boy's father, who apparently warned his son against climbing onto the fence, raised an alarm on noticing the youth fall. Several people started shouting to alert the zoo employees. On receiving information, the Curator and his staff rushed to the safari park along with a doctor armed with a tranquilliser gun. Meanwhile, visitors in one of the vans doing the rounds had a bone-chilling experience when they suddenly noticed the tiger (four-year-old Rahul born in the zoo itself) sitting under a rock with the body of the youth beside it. ``As soon as I saw the gory sight, I raced past it and took the passengers back to the alighting point. And then, again rushed back with my colleagues to rescue the person,'' recalls Srinivas, one of the drivers.

Having been alerted by the commotion, the tiger dragged the youth to a considerable distance into a thick undergrowth. Mr. Shekar Reddy, Assistant Curator, managed to get into the park from outside and located the badly injured youth. The other zoo workers made noises and threw stones to drive the tiger away from the spot. The body of the youth was dragged into a van with the tiger lurking dangerously close and then transported to the Osmania General Hospital.

``We had to take a calculated risk and get into the safari park as it was very important to save the youth first,'' explained Mr. Banerjee. But, their brave act was in vain as it was ascertained that the youth had died on the spot. The body had injuries on the head, face and a deep wound on the chest.

The Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Mr. A. V. Joseph, who visited the park, said it was quite tragic that a life was lost due to sheer bravado. ``We have built the wall and mesh to such a height that it would be difficult for the tigers to escape. The parents in the surrounding areas should ensure that their wards do not enter into the safari park,'' he said.

He said the height of the steel mesh would be further increased in addition to an incline facing the outside as well and covered with barbed wire.

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