A middle aged man made a bizarre attempt to end his life by jumping into a lion’s enclosure at Nandankanan Zoological Park here on Friday afternoon after he allegedly had a fight with his wife. He survived, although with multiple injuries after a lioness pounced on him.
Surya Narayan Dash, a native of Khalliokote, scaled the walls of enclosure no. 29 (B) of the Zoo taking the park management and visitors by surprise. He apparently had a fight with his wife which prompted him to take the extreme step, police said. He was reportedly in a state of intoxication.
Once he landed, a lioness jumped at him and grabbed him by the hand and then by the neck. The big cat dragged Dash to a distance of about 60 ft even as its male partner watched from a distance which, on hindsight, proved lucky for the man on suicide mission.
While the incident led to commotion, the Nandankanan staff created noise to draw the attention of the lioness so that it does not kill the visitor and succeeded in doing that. The lioness spared Dash and moved to a corner of the enclosure while the lion was at another point.
“Our animal keepers then put the two lions into their feeding chamber after which Dash could be rescued and rushed to a private hospital,” Zoo Director Dr Sudarashan Panda said. In fact, it took about 30 minutes before the animal keepers could transfer the two large cats into their feeding chamber.
Dash was found to have sustained injuries at four spots but was stated to be out of danger. He was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. He told mediapersons that he had a fight with his wife which prompted him for suicide bid.
Onlookers were left astounded at the manner in which he went about the suicide attempt. “He removed his shirt, put the water bottle on the ground before kneeling down as if he was offering a prayer,” said a visitor who was in the vicinity.
He crossed the stand-up barrier, then cleared the hedge before reaching the boundary wall of the enclosure. Using the metal nets, he jumped onto the dry moat. A similar incident had occurred in Kolkata when a man tried to garland a tiger.