White Tiger Mauls Zoo Visitor to Death

The man somehow ended up in tiger's enclosure
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2014 8:09 AM CDT
White Tiger Mauls Zoo Visitor to Death
Policemen inspect the body of a man who was killed by a white tiger at the zoo in New Delhi, India, on Sept. 23, 2014.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

What is certain is that a young man was mauled to death today by a white tiger at the New Delhi zoo. What is less certain is how he ended up in the enclosure. The Times of India and BBC use words like "tumbled" and "slipped": A witness tells the latter that the railing was "very low," and the man, identified only as Maqsood, may have accidentally fallen. But a rep for the National Zoological Park tells the AP the man intentionally approached the tiger, going so far as to climb over the enclosure's low fence before jumping down 18 feet into a protective dry moat; the male tiger lives on the island the moat surrounds. Those who were on the scene say the tiger immediately approached Maqsood and "silently watched him for nearly 15 minutes."

At some point, people began throwing rocks at the tiger to lure it away from the man, whom another zoo-goer described as "cowering in fear" and apparently pleading with the tiger. Instead, the creature pounced, reportedly dragging the man away by the neck. The Wall Street Journal reports the zoo's director confirmed that staff were unable to divert the animal's attention and that the man "died on the spot." (The BBC's take is a much more brutal one: A witness says Maqsood "was writhing in pain ... [and] suffered for the next 10 to 15 minutes.") An official tells the Times that a single guard is posted to each enclosure, and that visitors regularly ignore warnings to keep their distance. (A woman died at a Bangkok crocodile zoo earlier this month, in an incident that was no accident.)

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