A white tiger killed a drunken man today at a zoo in India.
Earlier this afternoon in New Delhi, India, a 22-year-old man who was admonished several times by zoo officials to not get too close to a moat surrounding the white tiger enclosure, did just that. The white tiger exhibit at the New Delhi Zoo is a lush island surrounded by a large moat.
The male white tiger, in turn, retrieved the man from the moat in his mouth and dragged him around the island. By the time zoo authorities were able to scare the white tiger into dropping the man and moving into a smaller enclosure, the man was long dead.
Belinda Wright, who has spent years working to protect India’s decreasing tiger numbers, wasn’t surprised, according to ABC News.
“The tiger was just being a tiger. An unusual object fell into his domain… he’s a wild animal in captivity. It’s certainly not the tiger’s fault.”
The Daily Mail is reporting that the man who fell into the white tiger enclosure was actually drunk at the time. They also report that the man didn’t accidentally fall into the moat surrounding the white tiger island, he actually jumped into it willingly.
One witness recalled seeing the man in the tiger enclosure.
“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 to 15 minutes, but no one helped him.”
National Zoological Park Spokesman Riyaz Ahmed Khan said that the man was warned several times.
“Despite repeated warnings that he shouldn’t get too close to the outdoor enclosure, the man eventually climbed over a knee-high fence and small hedges, then jumped down 18 feet into a protective moat.”
The man’s mangled body remained for almost two hours within the white tiger enclosure until emergency services were able to retrieve and remove it. During this time, the zoo remained open, though eventually officials roped off the white tiger enclosure.
The appearance of the white tiger’s white fur is due to a lack of pigment called pheomelanin that is normally found in Bengal tigers with the usual orange-colored fur. The unique coloring of the white tigers have made them popular in entertainment showcasing wild animals and at zoos.
Rampant poaching and loss of habitat due to the expansion of human endeavors are in danger of wiping out the less than 100 white tigers India is said to have left in the wild.
image via London Evening Standard and Wide HD Walls