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Sunday, December 17, 2000

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Youth enters tiger's lair, mauled to death

CALCUTTA, DEC. 16. Panic gripped the Alipore zoo here today after a tiger killed a youth who ventured into the open-air enclosure for big cats by scaling the high wall surrounding it. Last night, at a circus show in neighbouring Howrah town, three tigers fatally attacked their trainer, 20-year-old Rita Chhetri.

Police said the 26-year-old man, yet to be identified, scaled the walls and crossed the moat at 4.30 p.m. when the tiger ``Bob'' attacked him. A powerful blow from the big cat felled him and he was left in a pool of blood in full view of horrified visitors. The keepers rushed to the enclosure and chased the tiger back into its lair.

Authorities immediately placed the tiger under observation, closed the zoo and asked the visitors to leave. .

Rita Chhetri, who dared to play with the tigers daily, failed to realise that it would prove to be her undoing. During a show in Howrah's Gulmohar Maidan, a tiger that was to jump over the 20- year-old's body, suddenly attacked her. Soon two other cats joined in.

- PTI, UNI

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