Andhra Pradesh

Tragic Selfie Attempt: Man from Alwar Mauled to Death in Andhra Zoo Lion Enclosure

Efforts to notify Gujjar's family in progress; friend contacted. Police await autopsy results. Zoo authorities reviewing security measures.

In a tragic incident at Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, a man from Alwar, Rajasthan, lost his life after he entered the lion enclosure to take a selfie on Thursday. The victim, 38-year-old Prahlad Gujjar, ignored warnings from a caretaker and climbed a fence over 25 feet tall, breaching the restricted area.

The lion, named Dongalpur, attacked Gujjar before any intervention could occur, resulting in his death. Authorities are investigating whether Gujjar was intoxicated at the time. The police discovered Gujjar’s identity through his Aadhaar card and are trying to reach his family. The zoo, which spans 1,200 acres and houses numerous animals, including three lions, closed to visitors following the tragedy.

The incident unfolded on Thursday afternoon when Gujjar, a resident of Bansur village in Alwar, Rajasthan, entered the buffer zone around the lion enclosure. Security guards at the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park in Tirupati noticed Gujjar’s unauthorized presence and attempted to stop him. However, Gujjar climbed a 12-foot-high fence and jumped into the enclosure, where he encountered Dongalpur, the lion, and two lionesses.

Superintendent of Police Mallika Garg recounted the events, stating that the security guard’s efforts to deter Gujjar were in vain. Gujjar’s motive for visiting Tirupati remains unclear, as he had purchased a bus ticket from Hyderabad to Tirupati for February 13 and was alone during his visit to the zoo. Authorities are exploring the possibility of mental health issues contributing to Gujjar’s actions. Meanwhile, the zoo, known as one of Asia’s largest, temporarily closed its doors to visitors following the tragedy.

Efforts are underway to inform Gujjar’s family about the incident, as his friend, contacted through a mobile number found on his Aadhaar card, plans to visit the village to inquire about his family. The police are awaiting the results of the post-mortem examination to determine if Gujjar was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. In the wake of this unfortunate event, the zoo authorities are reviewing security measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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