“Shouting, stone-pelting may have made tiger angry”

September 25, 2014 07:52 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Picture shows a white tiger staring at the youth, minutes before it mauled him to death at the Delhi zoo on Tuesday.

Picture shows a white tiger staring at the youth, minutes before it mauled him to death at the Delhi zoo on Tuesday.

Vijay is the tiger most talked-about these days for mauling a youth who fell into his enclosure at Delhi zoo on Tuesday.

But was it basic instinct of a wild species or sheer provocation that made him act the way he did?

As the video of the incident went viral, a series of debates erupted around various issues, one of which was - did Vijay kill the man out of instinct or was he provoked to attack?

Experts say like humans, every tiger has a different behaviour and the video shows Vijay did not launch an attack in the first go, which shows he was not aggressive.

His behaviour could have been instinctive and he was more curious to begin with.

Tiger conservationist and wildlife expert Belinda Wright, who is also the executive director of Wildlife Protection Society of India, saw the video and said: “From the video, the tiger appears to be largely curious.”

Sujoy Banerjee, a forest officer and wildlife expert, elaborated, “The act of mauling looks more instinctive.” He does not rule out that the animal turned aggressive because of shouting and stone pelting or the very fact that Maqsood was cowering.

“The tiger was possibly encouraged because the man was cowering. Tigers tend to attack if the living being is cowering,” said Mr. Banerjee.

Stating that “white tigers are now found only in zoos and not in the wild,” he said that “there is a huge difference between captive-bred animal and an animal bred in the wild.

Instinctive A wild-bred animal is more aggressive and used to killing and hunting whereas a zoo animal is fed on meat and carcasses and is not used to killing living beings. That is why the act of Vijay looks largely instinctive.”

“We should also see that he did not eat the man. Also, had he been frustrated, he would have killed him instantly. But the video shows and it is not surprising that he waited for 10 minutes before attacking. The zoo animals tend to experiment. Sometimes, they even start playing with the bait. If he wanted to kill, he could have killed instantly but it was not so,” said Mr. Banerjee.

He also added that there is nothing to fear that the animal would turn a man-eater “because it was a stray incident and he did not eat the man”.

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