MOHALI: The two lions, which had mauled a man to death at Chhatbir zoo safari on Sunday, refused to have their meals for three hours to probably protest being caged before time.
Zookeeper struggled to pacify the pair before they consumed the meat. Zoo field director M Sudhagar said after the incident, zoo attendant J P Nath directed the lion and lioness to retreat and they were locked in cages at 3.20 pm on Sunday, a practice that is done at 5 pm on a daily basis.
Sudhagar said, “The earlier retraction came against the wishes of the lion and the lioness, which made them upset and they refused to have their meals in protest. The meat served at around 5.30 pm daily was given at the same time, but the lions consumed it by 9 pm, whereas other two lionesses consumed the meat the moment they were served.”
This showed the resentment of the animals and the zoo attendant told that he could read their expressions of resentment inside the den, said Sudhagar. “The zoo attendants are like companions of animals they nurture and take care of. They are the only ones acquainted with the animals. So, the animals also understand, reacts to calls and gestures of the attendant. After the attack, when the rescue team was trying to get hold of the man, it was the zoo attendant who called Yuvraj and Shilpa, who responded to his call and left the victim to return to their den,” said Sudhagar.
Lion safari closed for 3 days
Sudhagar said this was the first-ever experience of human-animal conflict of the two lions and they tasted human blood and flesh for the first time. They are to be kept under strict observation of expert veterinary doctors to study their behavioral symptoms. “Till they do not show signs of normalcy, they will not be released in the lion safari said Sudhagar. He said no lion will be released in the safari for three days.