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Call of the wild greets honeymooners in zoo

Woman’s handbag in tigers’ den, eager husband readies to take the plunge but is stopped by guards
Guwahati, Dec. 16: A visit to the Assam state zoo almost proved too “costly” for young honeymooners Yuvraj Chettri and Mini Thakkar here today.
As 18-year-old Mini leaned over the railing at one of the tiger enclosures around 8.30am, she watched in horror as her handbag slipped and fell into the den and all the cash in the bag spilled out with four full grown tigers looking on from a distance.
Though the bag had dropped nearly 25 feet, her new husband was preparing to jump into the tiger’s den to retrieve it when other visitors cried out in panic and the zoo guards shouted out a warning. It was in the very next enclosure that a man had been mauled by two tigers in 2007.
“The sight of my hard-earned money lying there on the ground was too hard for us to bear and I almost jumped into the enclosure. Thank god, I was warned,” a shaken Yuvraj, 25, said when he was reminded of the ghastly incident two years ago.
Zoo authorities retrieved Mini’s bag and the cash several hours later when the three tigers and a tigress — Aniruddh, Vipin, Raghav and Swati — were having their lunch at 3.30pm. The tigers are led to small cages inside the enclosures and locked separately during feeding, as they tend to quarrel over food. Newlyweds Yuvraj and Mini came from Latumbai, a hamlet in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. They had headed for the zoo, which opens at 8am, soon after arriving here this morning.
The shaken couple went away after the near encounter with the tigers without completing the round of the zoo. They returned at 4pm for the bag.
“The bag, including all its contents, were handed over to them after completing certain formalities,” Narayan Mahanta, the divisional forest officer of the zoo, said. Mini’s handbag contained Rs 8,075 in cash, a mobile handset and other things “like a lipstick”, he added.
He said alert zoo personnel had spotted the young man trying to climb down the tall barricade and stopped him. “Despite enough signs all around the zoo premises, visitors often commit mistakes and indulge in illegal acts. We let them go Scot free but people should realise the dangers while dealing with animals,” he added.
On December 19, 2007, Jayprakash Bezbaruah, 50, of Sivasagar was mauled to death by two tigers as his wife and sons watched in horror. He had sneaked past the first barrier for a close shot of Divya when the tigress and her partner Govardana grabbed his left arm. A few months later, on February 8, 23-year-old Azahar Ali, who was said to be mentally unstable, had jumped into the bear enclosure. He was rescued with only a scratched thigh.
Woman’s handbag in tigers’ den, eager husband readies to take the plunge but is stopped by guards
Guwahati, Dec. 16: A visit to the Assam state zoo almost proved too “costly” for young honeymooners Yuvraj Chettri and Mini Thakkar here today.
As 18-year-old Mini leaned over the railing at one of the tiger enclosures around 8.30am, she watched in horror as her handbag slipped and fell into the den and all the cash in the bag spilled out with four full grown tigers looking on from a distance.
Though the bag had dropped nearly 25 feet, her new husband was preparing to jump into the tiger’s den to retrieve it when other visitors cried out in panic and the zoo guards shouted out a warning. It was in the very next enclosure that a man had been mauled by two tigers in 2007.
“The sight of my hard-earned money lying there on the ground was too hard for us to bear and I almost jumped into the enclosure. Thank god, I was warned,” a shaken Yuvraj, 25, said when he was reminded of the ghastly incident two years ago.
Zoo authorities retrieved Mini’s bag and the cash several hours later when the three tigers and a tigress — Aniruddh, Vipin, Raghav and Swati — were having their lunch at 3.30pm. The tigers are led to small cages inside the enclosures and locked separately during feeding, as they tend to quarrel over food. Newlyweds Yuvraj and Mini came from Latumbai, a hamlet in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. They had headed for the zoo, which opens at 8am, soon after arriving here this morning.
The shaken couple went away after the near encounter with the tigers without completing the round of the zoo. They returned at 4pm for the bag.
“The bag, including all its contents, were handed over to them after completing certain formalities,” Narayan Mahanta, the divisional forest officer of the zoo, said. Mini’s handbag contained Rs 8,075 in cash, a mobile handset and other things “like a lipstick”, he added.
He said alert zoo personnel had spotted the young man trying to climb down the tall barricade and stopped him. “Despite enough signs all around the zoo premises, visitors often commit mistakes and indulge in illegal acts. We let them go Scot free but people should realise the dangers while dealing with animals,” he added.
On December 19, 2007, Jayprakash Bezbaruah, 50, of Sivasagar was mauled to death by two tigers as his wife and sons watched in horror. He had sneaked past the first barrier for a close shot of Divya when the tigress and her partner Govardana grabbed his left arm. A few months later, on February 8, 23-year-old Azahar Ali, who was said to be mentally unstable, had jumped into the bear enclosure. He was rescued with only a scratched thigh.