A 20-year old man was attacked and killed by a six foot long, 440lb. white Bengal tiger when he jumped over a fence into the animal’s enclosure Tuesday, the Times of India reports.
Videos of the zoo’s star attraction staring down the man before mauling him have gone viral.
The youth was identified as Maksood, a resident of Delhi’s Anand Parbat neighborhood. His reasons for jumping the fence remain unclear, with widespread speculation that he was mentally ill. He managed to cross the barrier to the tiger enclosure before falling or jumping into the exhibit’s dry moat. The tiger then caught sight of the man and jumped into the moat with him.
The tiger stared at the man for nearly 15 minutes, as onlooking children pelted it with sticks and small rocks in an attempt to distract its attention from its prey.
The zoo’s director released a statement that the man had died “on the spot” during the mauling. There are no plans as yet to put the animal down, but it is locked up and being kept under medical observation by zoo authorities. The statement also stressed the overall safety of the zoo’s enclosure system.
“All the enclosures of the National Zoological Park are absolutely safe. No visitor can reach the moat wall of the enclosure without the stand off barrier. The visitor crossed the stand off barrier and ultimately jumped into the enclosure which lead to his death by the tiger.”
This was not the first time someone got into an enclosure at the Delhi Zoo. In 2008 an inebriated man fell into a lion exhibit, but was rescued unharmed. Some are criticizing the response time of zoo authorities, citing the 15 minutes between the man’s falling into the moat and the actual tiger attack.