Bengal tiger mauls Wildlife Park guard
By EMANUEL SARFRAZ June 16, 2008
LAHORE - A wildlife department guard was attacked and severely injured by a Bengal tiger at the Lahore Wildlife Park, Raiwind Road, on Sunday.
The guard, Masood Yasin, was immediately shifted to Jinnah Hospital in unconscious condition. Yasin received multiple injuries and his jugular vein was badly damaged in the attack, doctor said. "The patient is in critical condition. He was operated upon but he is still not out of danger. A major operation would be held today in the morning by senior surgeons," he said.
Deputy Director Wildlife Department and incharge of the park, Ch Shafqat Ali, talking to The Nation said it was the first incident that a tiger had attacked a human being in the park. "It has not been determined yet whether it was guard's fault that he did not follow the precautions or there was some other reason that the animal became so ferocious that it attacked," Ali said.
In past there had been incidents in which the big cats killed other animals. In January 2007, a tiger killed another tiger while in October 2006, a tigress killed another tigress.
Sources in the Punjab Wildlife Department said Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had also planned to visit the park on Saturday (today) morning. They said the CM had taken notice of some complaints against the administration of the park and was personally visiting it to take action against those involved in irregularities.
So far the Wildlife Department officials are reluctant to explain the cause of incident. "It is a very unusual incident and the first of its kind in the park. It is possible that the animals are not fed properly at the right time. If the animals are properly fed they never attack.
"Also the guard may have broken the rules and directly engaged with the animals or perhaps provoked the tiger by some act," a wildlife department said.
A wildlife expert said the tigers at the park have been acquired from different places and they have failed to evolve harmony. "Tiger is never a reliable animals and can become ferocious any time. These tigers most of the time are not in good mood.
"It is usually the female tiger that attacks. And this too happens mainly for two reasons. One is that it is their resting time or breeding time when they are engaged by the keeper. Second is if the food provided to them was not enough.
"The keeper is solely to be blamed for the unfortunate incident. He failed to asses the situation and follow body movement of the animal. Tiger hair raise high when the animal is angry. It immediately does not spring on the person. It body movement shows that it is becoming angry and may attack.
"Tigers are the only animals that never become 100 percent keeper friendly. The keeper did not keep it in mind. He may have gone over and touched the animal," he was of the view.
It may be mentioned here that Lahore Wildlife Park was handed over to the Wildlife Department in 1988 by the Forest Department. The objective of the park is to house indigenous wildlife, captive breeding of important wild animals and birds and to provide recreational facilities to tourists.
The park has black deer, chinkara deer, monkeys, lions, tigers and peacocks, which freely roam about in the park.
The previous government had grand plan of converting the park into Night Safari venue. A tram was to go through the whole park and a motel was also to be built there for visitors. A Singapore based company Bernard Harrison and Friends had presented the grand plan, which included addition of a desert portion to the park and bringing in of reptiles as well. The Wildlife Department has prepared a presentation of the same grand plan for Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for approval.
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