Delhi zoo sees surge in visitors following white tiger attack on student

People are arriving in droves to see the white tiger involved in the tragedy

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The Independent Online

Visitor numbers at Delhi’s zoo have swelled – as the Indian public flocks to see the white tiger that mauled a male student to death.

An official inquiry is underway to examine the circumstances in which 20-year-old Maqsood Khan, who reportedly had mental health problems, either fell or clambered into the animal’s enclosure before he was fatally attacked. 

But the tragedy on Tuesday has not deterred the public from gathering to catch a glimpse of the seven-year-old white tiger Vijay, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The National Zoological Park usually welcomes about 20,000 to 25,000 visitors a day but that number has greatly increased, zoo officials told the newspaper. Vijay’s enclosure was said to have been surrounded by particularly dense crowds.

The animal has been quarantined since the attack and is being kept under close observation while experts assess whether he might pose a future threat.

Footage broadcast by the NDTV news channel showed images of Maqsood cowering before the tiger and then, later, the animal dragging him around its enclosure.

Warning: This video may cause distress to some viewers

Reports have varied over how the young man came to be in the tiger’s enclosure, but the zoo has maintained that it is not at fault.

“All the enclosures of the National Zoological Park are absolutely safe,” the zoo’s director, Amitabh Agnihotri, said in a statement.

“No visitor can reach the moat wall of the enclosure without crossing the the stand-off barrier. This visitor... ultimately jumped into the enclosure which led to his death.”

However, witnesses have said that it took between 15 and 20 minutes for zoo officials to attend the scene after the emergency alarm was set off by the tiger’s keeper.

For now though, there seem to few concerns among the public.

Veterinary officer N. Panneer Selvam told The Wall Street Journal: “Curiosity (about the tiger) is pulling the crowd. In the past two to three days, there are more crowds to see the tiger.”

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