Delhi zoo death: Why can't we treat animals with some respect?

By Tarique Anwar

A couple of days after a young man was mauled by a white tiger inside its enclosure in National Zoological Park in the national capital, a host of questions on the culpability of the zoo authorities is still doing the rounds. Where were the tranquillizer guns? Why weren't the zoo fences guarded properly? How long do the officials take to respond to a crisis situation? All valid questions, but the zoo authorities are equally justified asking whether the visitors to the zoo are being responsible enough.

 Delhi zoo death: Why cant we treat animals with some respect?

Representational Image. Reuters

Speaking to Firstpost, Delhi zoo Director Amitabh Agnihotri said: "Such accidents can be prevented only if visitors strictly follow the guidelines framed by Central Zoo Authority. These are written on display boards. They should be aware of the dangers involved while viewing a wild animal in captivity. They must respect the animals."

"Considering the way some visitors behave, it appears it is these people who should be in the enclosures, not the animals," said a regular visitor to the zoo. Despite warnings, people keep putting themselves in situations where they come face to face with violent animals like lions, tigers and bears which results in deaths and injuries, he added.

"Since February this year, we have caught 80 people for stoning animals and trespassing the restricted area and slapped fine on them," Agnihotri said.

Here are 10 stupid acts of people, according to Riyaz Ahmad Khan, curator of Delhi zoo, that make the caged animals angry:

1. People go closer to animals to get a good picture. Sometimes, they even jump zoo fences to get closer to the animals.

2. Sometimes, visitors put their hands inside cages to take back their mobile phones or cameras that may have fallen in.

3. They throw stones and water bottles on animals.

4. Our guards have also caught people beating animals, like hitting monkeys with sticks.

5. Visitors throw stones on basking crocodiles to check whether they're alive or dead and enjoy the animal's reaction.

6. They throw eatables in cages of less violent animals and sometimes make them drink bottled water they carry.

7. Parents don't ask their children not to scream and shout near animals. Most animals do not like loud voices.

8. Violent animals like tigers, lions, leopards, bears and crocodiles are kept inside heavy barricades. People often try get close to them.

9. Drunk and rowdy visitors hurl abuses on our zoo guards when they are asked follow the rules.

The problem is not with the height of fencings and dried-up moats, it is with the lack of awareness among the people. "When we (the human beings) do not accept our disrespect, how do we expect that animals will tolerate it," says Khan.

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2014 07:31:18 IST