A 25-year-old man, who claimed to have been “possessed by divine power often”, on Saturday jumped into a tiger enclosure in Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park here, but was rescued unhurt by the animal keeper and security guards, officials said. Shudhodhan Babarao Wankhede scaled the parapet wall of the white tiger enclosure and jumped into it, they added.
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“He went very close to the tiger and even touched the animal. However, our security guards and the animal keeper carefully opened the back gate of the enclosure and rescued the man unhurt,” said a zoo official. He said the man had earlier tried to jump into another enclosure of a Royal Bengal Tiger before jumping into the white tiger’s enclosure. However, the guards had succeeded in foiling that bid.
“Had there been a delay of a few more minutes in rescuing the man, his life would have been in danger. But, timely intervention of the security guards and animal keeper saved his life,” he added. Wankhede was later handed over to the police at Bharti Vidyapeeth police station, which registered a case against him under relevant sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
An investigating officer said the accused has claimed that he “gets possessed by divine powers often”.
“He claimed that today when he was in the zoo, he got possessed and in a fit of that possession, he jumped into the enclosure,” said the officer. Police said Wankhede hails from Akola and lives in Chakan area where he is looking for some job.