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Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 19:20

White tiger kills student in India

By Agencies
 White tiger kills student in India

In this handout photograph received from the Delhi Police at the scene of the incident, an Indian student is confronted by a white tiger inside its enclosure at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi on Sept 23, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/DELHI POLICE)

NEW DELHI - A white tiger mauled to death a school student in a New Delhi zoo on Tuesday, an official and a witness said.

Television channels broadcast closed-circuit footage of the frightened boy inside the tiger's enclosure in the zoo that houses six white tigers, along with lions and panthers.

"We are all in a complete state of shock," said Amitabh Agnihotri, the director of the National Zoological Park in the Indian capital, adding that the body was being sent for a post-mortem examination.

"The tiger grabbed the youth and killed him. I am not clear whether the youth jumped into the cage or he slipped accidentally."

"The barricade was too low and it seems the tiger grabbed the youth into his cage and firmly latched on to the youth's neck," an eyewitness who alerted the police told an Indian news channel.

"We tried to throw sticks and stones at the tiger but we could not save the youth," he said, adding that the tiger killed him in less than 10 minutes.

Local TV channels reported that the incident took place around 2 pm (local time) when the student, along with his fellow students, were inside the zoo on a day trip.

National Zoological Park spokesman Riyaz Ahmed Khan said the student had been warned that he shouldn't get too close to the outdoor enclosure.      

"The tiger was just being a tiger,'' said Belinda Wright, who has spent years working to protect India's dwindling numbers of wild tigers. "An unusual object fell into his domain... He's a wild animal in captivity. It is certainly not the tiger's fault.''

Deputy Commissioner of Police M.S. Randhawa identified the man only as Maqsood and said he was thought to be about 20 years old.

The zoo remained open Tuesday afternoon, though authorities eventually roped off the tiger enclosure.

In 2000 a tiger mauled a man in a zoo in the eastern state of West Bengal.

In 2011, India had 1,706 tigers, or more than half the world's population of the endangered species.

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