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Man jumps into lion's enclosure in Patna zoo, mauled

A man suspected to be mentally disturbed was badly mauled when he apparently tried to 'beard a lion in its own den' at the Patna zoo today.

patna Updated: Aug 10, 2013 18:45 IST
Reena Sopam
Reena Sopam
Hindustan Times

A man suspected to be mentally disturbed was badly mauled when he apparently tried to 'beard a lion in its own den' at the Patna zoo on Saturday.

Zoo authorities said Mohammad Imran Khan, 22, barged into the den of Big Cat Vishal around 11 am for no apparent reason other than the likelihood of "a disturbed mental state".

Khan, a native of the Piro village in Aurangabad district of south-central Bihar, received deep bruises and injuries on his back, shoulder and neck, as the lion went after the intruder.

He was, however, saved from what looked like a certain death by enclosure caretaker Shatrughan Paswan who managed to divert attention of the animal and push it into a night shelter, close to the enclosure.

His kurta torn by the claws of the lion, a bleeding profusely Khan was rushed to the Shastrinagar hospital for treatment. From there, he was sent to the Patna medical college hospital for better treatment.

"When taken out of the lion enclosure, he appeared to be pretty cool and there was no trace of fear on his face. He insisted he did not fear tigers or lions," said Patna zoo director S Chandrashekhar.

He said Khan did not appear to be in a fit mental state. "Anything could have happened today. Luckily, he was not hurt seriously even though he jumped into a moat in the enclosure, a fall of 12-13 feet", he added.

A caretaker who witnessed the incident said Saturday being the day after Eid, the zoo had drawn a large crowd and the employees were busy attending to the visitors.

"Suddenly, an enclosure in-charge found a man climbing on the boundary wall of the lion's enclosure. Before he could reach the intruder, he had jumped into the moat and, from there, barged into the enclosure", he said.

"It all happen in split of a second. The animal attacked him from behind, holding his neck and shoulder with its claws. He would have mauled the man to death had not enclosure incharge showed presence of mind", he said.

The caretaker created some sounds with a stick near the night house to divert the lion's attention. As such, the animal left the intruder and turned towards the night house. Once it was in, the door was bolted from outside.

The rescuers were shocked when the intruder refused to come out of the enclosure. "Instead, he asked for a microphone and announced he wanted to converse with allah", said another eyewitness.

The zoo director said it was a freak incident. "Patrolling parties make repeated rounds of the zoo ground on such crowded days. Still, crazy people have managed to do this kind of thing thrice earlier," he said.

Chandrashekhar said he intended to felicitate the caretaker for saving the life of Khan.

First Published: Aug 10, 2013 13:53 IST