Tigress kills zoo attendant

ITANAGAR, 18 May: A 35-year-old zoo attendant died at the biological park (Itanagar zoo) here after being mauled by a Royal Bengal tigress on Tuesday.

The deceased has been identified as Poulash Karmakar, a native of Dhekiajuli in Assam’s Lakhimpur district.

Zoo curator Raya Flago said the incident occurred at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, when the zoo attendant entered the tigress’ cage to clean the pond water.

“I was informed of the incident by one of our animal attendants. When I reached the zoo along with a doctor and other staff, Karmakar was already dead. He was found bleeding from the face,” Flago said.

“There are three gates that lead to the cage, and all of them had been left open. We are assuming that this led to the tigress attacking the zoo attendant,” Flago said, adding that a police investigation has been launched into the case.

SDPO Kamdam Sikom said that a case of unnatural death has been lodged at the Itanagar police station and the body of the deceased has been sent for postmortem to RK Mission Hospital.

“We did not see anything suspicious, and it seems to be a case of negligence, as per preliminary investigation,” the SDPO said.

Sikom said the body of the deceased would be handed over to his family members after the postmortem.

The name of the tigress that mauled Karmakar is Chippi, and she is around 8 years old.

Chippi had been rescued as an orphan, along with Ipra, when they were around eight months old from Anini in Dibang Valley district.

They were shifted to the biological park in Itanagar in 2013-14.