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Man mauled to death by lions in Bahawalpur; Sherbagh Zoo closed for probe

Caretaker Punjab CM Mohsin Naqvi and Bahawalpur commissioner have formed committees to probe incident

By Web Desk
December 07, 2023

LAHORE: The death of a man after he was mauled by lions at the Sherbagh Zoo in Bahawalpur Thursday led to the closure of the amusement facility until a probe into the incident is completed, Curator Ali Usman Bukhari told Geo News.

Meanwhile, separate committees have also been constituted by Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi and Commissioner Bahawalpur to investigate the shocking development.

The body of the deceased man has not yet been identified, the zoo administration said.

Meanwhile, the preliminary postmortem report, that was carried out at the Bahawal Victoria Hospital revealed that the man was ripped apart by the big cats. It further stated that the man attempted to defend himself but the animals mauled him to death.

The administration shared that it has yet to be figured out how the man was able to get inside the enclosure.

On Wednesday, a man was found dead inside the enclosure by staff carrying out routine cleaning.

The body was found after the staff spotted a shoe in the mouth of one of the big cats.

"When they cleaned the zoo and the dens, they found the (animal) holding a shoe in its mouth," Zaheer Anwar, a senior government official in Bahawalpur, told the media.

"The staff got suspicious and then they found a body inside the den," he said.

The official described the big cat using a word that in Pakistan can mean tiger or leopard, and both are believed to be housed inside the zoo.

"Our assessment so far is that this appears to be a lunatic, because a sensible person would not jump into the den," Anwar said.

"You can see that the den is secured. There are stairs behind the den, maybe he jumped from there.

"(The) staff are all accounted for."

Zafarullah, an official of the rescue service 1122 in Bahawalpur, told AFP that the victim’s legs had been heavily mauled.

"It is yet not known who he is and how he got there. It is being investigated. The body looked several hours old," said Zafarullah, who goes by one name.

He said forensic experts were examining the body.

The zoo is run by Punjab’s wildlife department, according to its website, and costs adults 50 rupees (18 cents) to enter.