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Mentally-challenged man rescued from lion's claws at Alipore Zoo

Mentally-challenged man rescued from lions claws at Alipore Zoo
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Kolkata: A mentally challenged man was rescued and admitted to SSKM Hospital on Friday after being mauled by a lion at Alipore Zoological Gardens. The injured, Gautam Guchait — a resident of Patashpur in East Midnapore — had scaled the boundary wall at the back side of the zoo and entered the lion's enclosure. He was rescued by the keepers and security guards.

Zoo authorities said the person might have climbed a tree and scaled the reasonably high boundary wall to jump into the enclosure. One of the security guards saw him as he climbed the wall and pleaded with him to come down. But, he jumped into the cage.

"What happened is unfortunate. But it was the alertness of our security staff and keepers that led to the quick rescue of the person from the clutches of the lion. He has been admitted to SSKM Hospital and his injuries are not at all very serious," Asis Samanta, director of Alipore Zoological Gardens, said.

Samanta added that his family members had informed him that Guchait had left his residence early in the morning telling them that he was going to meet the tiger. They had ignored his words, considering the same to be a joke.

"There is a three layer security-an iron fence, then a canal and again another fence that needs to be scaled by a person to enter into the lion's enclosure. But, this person entered from the back side which is a bushy area and not for visitors. The zoo is spread over such a large area and if somebody comes determined that he will commit suicide, then it's impossible to prevent it. Our guards and keepers were alert enough otherwise the situation would have turned worse," Samanta added, ruling out allegations of security lapse in the incident.

The director, however, reiterated that he had already held a meeting with concerned officials so that the security could be further strengthened in and around the enclosures of the carnivores. Apart from some bruises on his body, Guchait sustained injuries on his

feet and back as he jumped from the high wall into the enclosure. In 1996, Prakash Tiwari was killed and Suresh Rai suffered injuries after they had entered the enclosure of a Royal Bengal Tiger for garlanding the big cat.

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