On Saturday night a 40-year-old animal keeper named Anji was mauled to death by two white tiger cubs in Bannerghatta Biological Park, South India. He was covering for a colleague the evening it happened, but as he went to feed the animals, he was attacked and killed on the spot.
Park chief Santosh Kumar told The Guardian what happened as Anji tried to guide the felines to their enclosure before the incident. “The victim was assisting the caretaker in pushing the cats into their enclosure for the night when they turned around and pounced on him as one of the four gates was not shut and latched by then,” he said.
More reports claimed that the victim had been bitten on the neck by one of the cubs, then viciously attacked by the other. Kumar continued to share how gruesome the attack was adding: “The felines did not allow the caretaker to retrieve Anji’s body from the spot and were guarding it, which delayed in rushing him to a nearby hospital.”
The animal keeper was married with two children. After hearing the news, raging family members protested outside the wildlife park, asking for 500,000 rupees ($7,650) compensation on the basis of negligence.
This isn’t the first incident of a keeper being seriously harmed by an animal in the park. In 2015, The Times of India reported that a wildlife worker had been attacked by two lions. The animals were about to be vaccinated, but an accidental opening of a door to their den led to one of them grabbing the keeper's neck whilst the other clawed at his stomach, causing severe bleeding and putting him at risk of catching rabies.
The Bannerghatta National Park is home to nearly 2,000 animals including Bengal tigers, Himalayan black bears, and more. According to the site, the park is still open to visitors.