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White tiger cubs maul keeper to death in India

White tiger cubs at a zoo in Austria. White tigers are regarded as an endangered species.
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Two white tiger cubs have mauled to death their keeper at a wildlife park in southern India.

The two cubs attacked as the keeper was herding them into their enclosure at Bannerghatta biological park on the outskirts of Bangalore.

“The victim was assisting the caretaker in pushing the cats into their enclosure for the night when they turned around and pounced on him as one of the four gates was not shut and latched by then,” said the park’s boss, Santosh Kumar.

The tigers were eventually driven off by park staff but by then the victim, named as Anji, 40, was dead. “The felines did not allow the caretaker to retrieve Anji’s body from the spot and were guarding it, which delayed in rushing him to a nearby hospital,” Kumar said.

Anji, who goes by one name, was a daily wage worker and was hired by the national park this month to fill in for a staff member.

Angry relatives protested outside the park on Sunday and demanded 500,000 rupees (£5,850) compensation from authorities, accusing them of negligence.

Two years ago a keeper was injured by lions in the park, according to the Press Trust of India, quoting Kumar.

The 545-hectare (1,346-acre) Bannerghatta biological park’s zoo houses 1,941 animals including Bengal tigers, lions and leopards, according to its website.

White tigers, regarded as an endangered species, are found in southern and eastern Asia, particularly India, and owe their colour to a recessive gene. India is home to half the world’s tiger population with 2,226 of the big cats roaming its reserves, according to the last official count, in 2014.