A day after a white tiger at the National Zoological Park mauled a visitor to death, scores of eager onlookers gathered at the enclosure to have a glimpse of the feline. The footfall on Wednesday increased to almost double and security had to be increased.
Officials said around 3,000 people visited the zoo.
“We saw the incident on TV yesterday and wanted to come and witness the animal. In fact, the kids were very curious and insisted on coming to the zoo today,” said Manohar Pandya.
People mistook a female tiger Rani, who had been released at the enclosure on Wednesday, for Vijay, the male tiger that killed the man.
“Everyone was interested in the white tiger. We had asked for additional security outside the enclosure,” said Riaz Khan, the zoo’s curator.
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Security officials were specifically ordered not to entertain any questions.
“We initially heard that he was clicking the picture of the tiger when he accidently fell inside. Some say he deliberately jumped inside. Everyone seems to narrate a different story,” said Ujjwal Singh, a student.
According to his family, Maqsood Khan (19), was mentally unstable and was undergoing treatment for the past four years. Despite being warned by the security officer at the enclosure, he crossed three barrier stands and jumped down 18-feet to enter the tiger’s area.
“The man first crossed the grilled barrier and I warned him by blowing the whistle. He then bent over the fence and began throwing stones inside the enclosure and I pulled him back. But then a group of students came over and I got busy in helping them form a queue. It was then that I heard people screaming. By that time he had already jumped inside,” said Praveen Kumar, the security guard.
Though the zoo authorities claim that Vijay is following his regular routine, he is under a three-day observation.
The authorities said Vijay was in a playful mood on the fateful day. The screams of the spectators who started throwing stones at him frightened him.
“We will follow the orders of the ministry. However, we reiterate that our enclosures follow the guidelines of the central zoo authority. We cannot do anything about rowdy visitors who deliberately cause trouble,” added Khan.