The child put his hand inside the cage to feed the animal chocolate

In a tragic incident here on Monday, a tiger at the Bellary zoo bit off the forearm of a toddler who was attempting to feed the animal chocolate.

According to an eyewitness, upon hearing the cries of the two-and-a-half-year-old child, Nikhil, visitors to the zoo and guards rushed to the animal’s cage and frightened the tiger into letting go of the child.

Nikhil was rushed to the Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, where he is undergoing treatment.

Enquiries revealed that Nikhil, son of Nagababu and Lakshmi, who work in Channapatna near Mysore, had come to his grandparents’ house for a visit.

His grandmother Balamani took Nikhil to the zoo and, after looking at the tiger, they went to the deer enclosure, which is adjacent. While Balamani was otherwise occupied, Nikhil went up to the tiger cage and put his hand inside to feed the tiger. The tiger, Bhima, grabbed hold of his hand and pulled him towards the cage.

Nikhil also sustained bruises on his forehead when he banged his head on the iron grill when the tiger pulled him.

The entire incident took place in a few seconds, catching everybody unawares.

A shocked Ms. Balamani was inconsolable.

The forest guards expressed shock over the incident and accused the child’s grandmothere of negligence.

Manikantan, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bellary division, told The Hindu that he had instructed the officer in-charge of the zoo to put up a mesh around the tiger cage to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

The officials will consult their higher-ups with regard to footing the medical bill and paying compensation.

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