Date:20/12/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/12/20/stories/2007122061541200.htm New Delhi

Tigers maul zoo visitor to death Sushanta Talukdar — Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

Deadly attack: Two tigers maul the visitor who put his hand into the enclosure to get a close-up photograph in the Guwahati Zoo on Wednesday. The man lost his left arm and died later. Guwahati: A visitor to the Guwahati Zoo attempting to take a close-up photograph of the big cats met with a tragic end after he was attacked by them on Wednesday afternoon. Joyprakash Bezbarua of Meclachalk in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district was mauled by two Royal Bengal tigers when he put his hand into the enclosure. His wife, minor son and dozens of horrified visitors watched helplessly as Bezbarua tried to free himself from the biting grip of the powerful carnivores. He died of his injuries in the Guwahati Medical College Hospital. Divisional Forest Officer Narayan Mahanta told The Hindu that the incident occurred at 2.10 p.m. when Bezbarua, a junior technical instructor, crossed the barrier and put his hand inside the enclosure. Warning ignored

A zookeeper repeatedly cautioned Bezbarua to return to the area behind the barrier but he did not heed the warning. As soon as he extended his hand wielding a camera through the metal bars, tigress Divya pounced on him and locked its mouth on his hand. She was soon joined by a male tiger, Govardhana, in the ferocious attack. The zoo veterinarian and others tried to push the tigers away but they let go only after Bezbarua’s left hand was severed. Photographer Ritu Raj Konwar of The Hindu was witness to the grisly episode and recorded the sequence of the events — the tigers seizing the victim’s hand, the desperate attempts by the zoo officials using sticks to push the cats away, and the victim finally collapsing outside the enclosure wall, his hand severed. The newsroom of The Hindu was caught in a dilemma whether to publish the disturbing pictures. A consensus favoured the publication of a picture for its educative role about safe behaviour in a zoo. To reduce the traumatic effect on readers, the picture is published in black and white rather than in colour. The incident occurred soon after the authorities transferred to the zoo a two-year-old female leopard, captured from the jungles in the Kahilipara locality of the city in the morning. Photographers were invited to shoot the new inmate and the tragic incident occurred all on a sudden. Earlier, two persons committed suicide by jumping into the tiger enclosure. In another incident, zoo authorities rescued a girl who tried to kill herself similarly. © Copyright 2000 - 2007 The Hindu

Tigers maul zoo visitor to death

role about safe behaviour in a zoo. To reduce the traumatic effect on readers, the picture is published in black and white rather than in colour. The incident occurred soon after the authorities transferred to the zoo a two-year-old female leopard, captured from the jungles in the Kahilipara locality of the city in the morning.

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