Wildlife experts blamed poor response of the zoo and unruly behaviour by visitors for Tuesday’s tragedy. A white tiger on Tuesday attacked and killed a youth who apparently either jumped or fell into its enclosure at the Delhi zoo.
“The zoo certainly lacks adequate response mechanism. If the tiger had not attacked the man for 15 minutes, then the authorities could have used a tranquiliser and at least tried to divert his attention,” Jaya Simha, managing director of Humane Society International (India), told Indo-Asian News Service.
“Zoos in India do not follow the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. The zoo should have had enough guards and enough distance from the enclosures. The zoo has lost the essence of being a centre of education and conservation,” Simha said.
However, not everyone is of the same opinion. Kartick Satyanaran of Wildlife SOS, a non-profit wildlife conservation organization, told Hindustan Times: “The youth chose to die. The zoo has emergency plans, but you cannot control such suicidal attempts.”
Delhi’s wildlife department officials told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that there is a lot of hooliganism in the zoo with visitors misbehaving, disturbing and harassing animals.
“The tiger was just being a tiger,” Belinda Wright, who has spent years working to protect India’s dwindling numbers of wild tigers, told Associated Press. “An unusual object fell into his domain. ... He’s a wild animal in captivity. It is certainly not the tiger’s fault.”
This was not the first such incident in the Capital’s Zoo.
Six years ago, an inebriated man had fallen into a lion’s enclosure in front of a lioness but she had spared him, said an official.