Animal keeper at Hyderabad zoo injured after lioness pounces on him

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Hyderabad, Jul 9 (PTI) An Assistant Animal Keeper was injured after a lioness allegedly pounced on him at its enclosure in the Nehru Zoological Park here, officials said on Tuesday.

The incident took place on Monday.

The eight-year-old African lioness, which was kept at the Summer House area (off the display area) as it was receiving medical treatment, escaped from the enclosure while the Assistant Animal Keeper was cleaning the night houses.

He was negligent while closing the doors, the officials said.

The door was not closed properly between the enclosures and the animal keeper went into another enclosure to clean it, a release from Nehru Zoological Park said. At the time, the lioness came out of its night enclosure and injured the Assistant Animal Keeper with its paws.

The man ran out of the area screaming to alert the zone employees, it said.

As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the main gates had been shut as the zoo is closed to the public every Monday.

Security personnel and the veterinary team were informed. The veterinary team tranquilised the lioness, which was near a crocodile moat, and sent it back to the night house, it said.

The Assistant Animal Keeper was immediately taken to the state-run Osmania General Hospital for treatment and he has since been discharged, a senior zoo official said.

A committee was appointed by the Zoo Park Director for a detailed enquiry and, based on a preliminary report submitted by the Deputy Range Officer, it said the Assistant Animal Keeper showed “carelessness” in safety measures and was “irresponsible” in monitoring the wild animals while closing the gates.

Earlier too similar incidences were reported wherein a few animals had escaped from their respective enclosures, the release said, adding that the management is working to improve the monitoring of the animals and to prevent any such incidences. PTI VVK VVK ANE