NEW DELHI: A white tiger on Tuesday attacked and killed a young man who apparently slipped and fell into its enclosure at the Delhi zoo, witnesses said.
Witnesses claim the barricade of the tiger enclosure was low and the man, in his early twenties, slipped and fell into a dry moat inside. Moments later, the fully-grown tiger could be seen mauling the boy.
“The man seems to have leapt over the railing into the tiger enclosure. It was a white tiger that attacked,” zoo manager Riaz Khan told AFP.
A witness said he raced to the tiger enclosure after hearing screams, to see the boy locked in the tiger’s jaws, “writhing badly in pain”.
“Around 1.30 pm, when we were in the reptiles area, we heard very loud screams,” said Himanshu, a visitor.
“We saw some kids throwing in small sticks and stones inside the tiger enclosure.”
“Then we saw that a white tiger had caught a boy by his neck and he was writhing badly in pain. He kept suffering for the next 10-15 minutes but nobody helped him.”
Another witness, Bittu, said, “The tiger didn’t attack him at first. It attacked when the man threw stones at him. The tiger then attacked him. The man tried to run away but the tiger swiped at him, wounding his neck. Then it carried him away and killed him.”
Bittu, a witness who filmed the horrific incident on his mobile phone, said security guards arrived too late to save the man.
White tigers are found in southern and eastern Asia, particularly India, and owe their appearance to a recessive gene. They are regarded as an endangered species.