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'Unwell, Distressed' Bengal Tiger Attacks Animal Keeper at Delhi Zoo

The zoo's curator said the incident happened early morning when the zoo-keeper, Fateh Singh, had gone to fill the tiger's water bowl. The tiger swooped down on him from inside the cage. Singh suffered minor injuries in his right hand.


Updated:September 11, 2019, 6:02 PM IST
'Unwell, Distressed' Bengal Tiger Attacks Animal Keeper at Delhi Zoo
File photo of a tiger resting in the Delhi zoo.

New Delhi: An animal keeper was on Tuesday morning attacked by an "unwell and distressed" Bengal tiger in the Delhi Zoo when he went to fill the water bowl of the feline, officials said.

The zoo's curator, Riyaz Khan, said the incident happened around 5am and zoo-keeper, Fateh Singh, has suffered minor injuries in his right hand. Singh was on the night shift and had gone to fill the tiger's water bowl. The tiger swooped down on him from inside the cage.

The eight-year-old tiger, Rama, is unwell. A team of doctors from Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly and the zoo's Director Renu Singh examined the animal late in the night on Monday, Khan said. "Late-night inspection (in the wee hours of Tuesday) may have rattled the tiger. Such incidents have happened in the past too," he said. The zoo's staff took Singh to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The animal keeper, who got a few stitches, was discharged from the hospital in the afternoon, another official said.

"The tiger, which was brought from the Mysore zoo in 2014, is unwell since July 27 and has not been eating enough. It was only on August 14 that an inspection was conducted by the Delhi zoo veterinary officer," the official said.

Thereafter, the animal was kept in a squeeze cage for examination purposes. Frequent check-ups in the squeeze cage have agitated the tiger, he claimed. A squeeze cage is like a normal cage but with a moveable panel which can be adjusted to restrict the movement of animals for vaccinating and examining them.

"The animal is in pain and has been showing stereotypic behaviour," the official said. Stereotypic or aberrant behaviour includes rocking, pacing, head weaving, tongue playing, etc. which is a sign of stress, he said.

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