Zoos have off late become more dangerous than before. Either it is news of people unwittingly falling into animal enclosures or it could be zoo employees facing the wrath of some ferocious animal.
This latest incident on Saturday evening that happened at Bannerghatta Zoo again brings back troubling memories of the Delhi zoo tiger mauling case.
On Saturday, newly employed, 40-year-old Anjaneya alias Anjini, a daily wage labourer hired as a gatekeeper at the safari enclosure in the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) went into the tiger’s enclosure to remove leftover food and bones. He was unaware that the occupants of the cage were very present at that time.
Soorya, a white tiger tiger, and her cubs Vanya and Jhansi Rani were resting inside and one of the cubs seeing Anjini inside made a swipe at him and bit him on the neck. Seeing this the other cub also attacked Anjini leaving him traumatised. The man's screams attracted the attention of the zoo authorities but this enraged the bigger cats who took him inside the enclosure and proceeded to bite him further.
An official, speaking to Times of India said how it is a practice to clean and feed the tigers post the safari at 5pm and it was then that the unfortunate incident occurred.
Surprisingly, Anjini was working as a a security guard earlier and had no prior experience of handling animals.
His body was taken to Victoria Hospital for postmortem. The Bannerghatta police said a complaint was registered by the zoo authorities. Anjaneya, was a resident of Hakki Pikki colony and is survived by his wife and two kids.
When the BBP executive director Santosh Kumar was questioned on the lack of security and why the inexperienced man was allowed into the cage, he tried to skirt the issue. He is quoted as saying that Anjaneya did not know how to operate the safety gates and had not checked on the animals presence. A senior staff member was with him, Kumar claimed and in fact, was chased by the tigers but he managed to escape.
The Bannerghatta zoo has had its fair share of troubles in the past and this year has been particularly trying for the biological park. In July this year, due to the foolishness of 28-year-old Abhilash V, he was trampled to death by the elephant Sundar in the park. He and his friends were taking selfies with the elephant. They had sneaked into the park through another entrance.
In September last year a lion was pictured attempting to climb a safari vehicle as a result of which smaller vehicles in the park were removed.
Back in 2015, a zoo employee had been mauled by a lion in the park. The chain link fence and grill separating the animals from the employee had given away and Krishna, the zoo employee, spent close to 30 minutes with the lion clamping onto his abdomen while the staff was trying to scare the animal away.