A visit to the Zoo earlier this year saw Maqsood develop a new-found interest in tigers, something that had him visit the Delhi zoo often, and an obsession that ultimately cost him his life. Maqsood was mauled by death by a white tiger in the Delhi zoo a day back.
According to a report in today's Times of India, Maqsood's obsession with tigers and lions made him while away time at the zoo. Also, he narrated stories about how a Bengal tiger mauled a man at Kolkata's Alipur zoo to his his wife Fatima. A classmate of Maqsood is quoted as saying that his phone gallery had pictures of tigers, a further indication of his growing interest.
"The fact that he had lost his job four months ago gave him ample time. He often told his mother he was going out to look for a job but instead landed at the zoo. He used the little money he had saved to buy tickets at the zoo," the Times of India reported.
His grandfather, quotes the daily, says Maqsood never spoke to anyone about what caused the sudden interest in tigers. "He never told us what was it about tigers that had aroused his curiosity so much but these stories used to excite him and he often shared his experiences at the zoo," Mohammad Tahir told ToI.
While his growing fondness for tigers did cause his death, some say there could have been a chance of him surviving had the crowd gathered at the spot been better managed.
This report in The Indian Express says Zoo keeper Shyam Lal, who reared the tiger since its birth, could have helped save Maqsood had the crowd not stoned the tiger.
“Shyam Lal reared the tiger… The two had a close bond… The tiger knew that Shyam Lal wasn’t a threat, and would have left the man alone if it had not been agitated,” Riaz Khan, the zoo curator told The Indian Express.
“It was rarely aggressive… It always listened to Shyam Lal’s calls and was in many ways particularly tame.”
But not wanting to take any further chances, authorities at the Delhi Zoo have already started wire-fencing the enclosure after orders from the Central Zoo Authority. The move, though, could have an impact across zoos in the country as current CZA guidelines suggest that there should not be any restriction that makes a visitor's experience unsatisfactory. A tough line to crack, but perhaps the CZA will tweak its guidelines to ensure better safety facilities at zoos across the country.
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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2014 12:18:16 IST