Scuffle with tiger at Dhaka Zoo
Panic gripped the visitors at Dhaka Zoo yesterday noon when a Royal Bengal Tiger attacked its food provider inside the cage, came out of it and roamed the zoo premises for about half an hour.
The victim, Mujibar Rahman Sheikh, 40, employee of an animal food supply contractor at the zoo, narrowly survived with injuries to his arms, thighs, neck and chest.
Scores of people including women and children were seen running helter skelter for safety as they found the majestic animal out of its cage. As the news spread like wildfire, hundreds of people who went to the zoo with their families on the weekend tried to hide wherever they could or raced out.
Narrating the incident, Mujibar said just as on other days, he went to Sanjoy's (the tiger) cage yesterday noon to provide him meat.
"The tiger usually stays inside its second cage when food is given. But today (yesterday) somehow it was in the first cage, and we did not notice that," said Mujibar.
Abdul Khalek, a zoo staff, opened the gate of the first cage, Mujibar said. "We entered it and kept meat on the floor. The tiger suddenly jumped on me."
In no time, both ran out of the cage but the tiger followed them and attacked Mujibar with its claws.
In a desperate bid to save his life, horrified Mujibar scuffled with the tiger for a few minutes. Zoo officials Shajahan Khan Tuhin and Ratan Kumar Mondol were also present there.
People around the cage first ran away as the tiger rushed out of it but after a while, some courageous ones including zoo staffs and visitors came forward to rescue him, Mujibar said. "They threw brick bats at the tiger, and it fled toward the cage of a tapir nearby and hid behind it.
"Then we used tranquilliser gun to make the tiger unconscious and carried it back to the cage. It took 14 people to carry the animal," said Kazi Fazlul Haque, curator of the zoo.
Three-metre long Sanjoy was born in the zoo in 1984.
Mujibar was first admitted to a local clinic and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Earlier, a zoo tiger killed a visitor child in 1996 when he went close to its cage and a bear killed a zoo staff in 2004.
Besides, a lion moved out of its cage a few years ago but the zoo authorities caged it back without any incident.