Lioness escapes from enclosure at Hyderabad Zoo, attacks animal keeper

Hyderabad: An animal keeper at the Nehru Zoological Park was injured when an African lioness came out of its enclosure and attacked him, zoo officials said on Tuesday.

The veterinary team tranquilised the lioness and shifted it back to the enclosure. The incident occurred around 10.20 a.m. on Monday, which was a holiday for the Zoo.

Assistant animal keeper Syed Hussain was immediately taken to the Osmania General Hospital for further treatment and was later discharged, said Zoo Director and Curator Sunil S. Hiremath.

Eight-year-old African lioness Sirisha is suffering from hind limb paralysis and it was kept under treatment at the Summer House area. It escaped from the enclosure while Hussain, who was cleaning the night houses, showed negligence while closing the doors.

“The door was not closed properly between the enclosures and the animal keeper went into another enclosure for cleaning purposes. The animal came out of its night enclosure and injured Mr Hussain with paws and he ran out of the area alerting/ screaming to the zone employees that the animal came from its enclosure, the supporting staff immediately reported to the higher authorities,” the Zoo director said.

As per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the main gates were closed and the security personnel were alerted.

The veterinary team, which was on rounds in the premises for a health check-up, rushed with darting equipment and responded within 10 minutes by tranquilising the lioness which was near the crocodile moat. It was sent back to the night house within 20 minutes.

The Zoo Director has appointed an inquiry committee. A preliminary report by the Deputy Range Officer shows that Hussain was careless in safety measures and was irresponsible in monitoring the wild animals while closing the gates. As Monday was a weekly holiday for the Zoo, limited staff members were available.

The Committee decided to call on experts to train the staff to prevent similar incidents in future. Similar incidents were reported in the past wherein a few animals had escaped from their respective enclosures and management is working on improving the proper monitoring and functioning to reduce any such incidents, the Zoo Director added.


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