Hyderabad: In a bizarre incident at the zoo here, a drunk 35-year-old man jumped into the enclosure of African Lions apparently to “shake hands” with them on Sunday evening. Animal keeper R. Papaiah was close by and responded instantly to save the man from the approaching wildcats. The inebriated man, Mukesh, is a labourer and Rajasthan native.
After crossing the metal barricade and the parapet wall, Mukesh jumped into the moat and swam towards the big cats. He held out a hand at them. The lions were in a mood to pounce on him, but Papaiah began throwing stones at them and shouting at them to distract their attention.
As the wildcats eyed Mukesh, some stones fell near them and they moved away. In a jiffy, Mukesh began swimming back to the parapet wall. Papaiah held a long pole to Mukesh. He grabbed it and got back to safety.
A large crowd of Sunday visitors thronged the enclosure with bated breath, watching the drama unfold. Shivani Dogra, who was appointed on Saturday as curator of the zoo said, “When the man started climbing the metal barricade, security officials ran to stop him. He quickly crossed the barricade as well as the parapet wall and jumped into the moat. This happened during closing hours and the animal keeper was at hand to arrange feed for the lions. The lions are used to Papaiah’s calls and they moved towards another end of the enclosure.”
Mukesh had an identity card on him. It showed him as a labourer employed with L&T for the Hyderabad Metro Rail works. With minor injuries, he was handed over to the Bahadurpura police station. This is the fourth shocking incident at the Hyderabad Zoo this year.
In recent months, a bear escaped from its cage, a 17-year-old boy lost his life after slipping from a rock while taking a selfie in a prohibited zone and recently two spider monkeys escaped from their enclosure. Last year, a tiger had leapt out of its cage at the zoological park....