Indore: Chaos reigned supreme in Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalaya (Indore zoo) on Sunday as zoo officials had twin tasks at hand. They not only had to ensure safety of visitors, who had come to enjoy a leisurely Sunday evening watching wildlife in captivity but also nab Jamuna, a 15-month-old tigress that had escaped from its enclosure. After 90 minutes, the tigress was back in its enclosure and the officials heaved a sigh of relief.
According to reports, Jamuna panicked after one of visiting kids threw a large balloon in its enclosure, which went off after touching the ground. The sound left the tigress restless and it jumped out of the railing and iron mesh around its enclosure. There were around 50-70 visitors near the enclosure when the incident occurred. Laxmi Tomar, who had gone to the zoo along with her grandson, fell down in the subsequent melee and was injured. Her grandson managed to take her to safety.
As visitors ran helter-skelter looking for safe place to hide, a few workers busy laying Reliance cable saw the tigress moving freely out of its enclosure and immediately informed the zoo authorities.
The zoo authorities immediately decided to get the zoo vacated. Sanyogitaganj police too was informed. Zoo guards locked a number of visitors in the zoo hospital to avoid any untoward incident. A few visitors locked themselves up in public toilet also.
Later, dial 100 vehicles were deployed to take visitors to safety out of the zoo premises. After rescuing all visitors, the zoo administration launched an operation to trap the tigress.
Officials said that during search operation, zoo in-charge Dr Uttam Yadav came across the frightened feline. As Yadav had looked over its birth, Jamuna was well aware of him. Dr Yadav talked and cajoled the tigress into a cage bringing a happy end to the incident.
Sources claimed that being Sunday, there were more than a 1,000 visitors in the zoo when the incident occurred. A few visitors expressed displeasure over the way the zoo staff handled the rescue operation. A woman complained that they were on their way to the tiger enclosure when a few staff came running and asked them to run to safety out of the zoo as a tiger has run loose. “I had to run one-and-a-half kilometre carrying my baby in my arms. It was dangerous and treacherous. They should have stopped entry at the gate as soon as the incident came to light,” she said. Another visitor said that they had come to visit the zoo along with kids. “It was a nightmare. I had to cajole my kids to keep running. They are small and hence got tired. But we had to ensure safety first,” he said.
Around three to four years ago, a bear Rakhi had managed to escape from its enclosure but was soon trapped on the zoo premises. A few months back, an alligator had escaped from its enclosure and was found near Krishnapura pulia.