Mysuru: A Zoo-keeper was bitten by a crocodile at the world famous Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popular as Mysuru Zoo, here last evening. Ironically, the Zoo is known for its safety standards where sufficient distance is maintained between animals and human beings.
The incident has sent shock waves among the Zoo employees who are now worried about their safety.
The crocodile bit 42-year-old Puttaswamy, a crocodile keeper, on the little toe of his right leg and his left palm when he slipped and fell into a pond in the crocodile enclosure while cleaning it. Puttaswamy is a resident of Mahadevapura near Srirampura in city.
Sources in the Zoo told Star of Mysore on condition of anonymity that the crocodile had chewed up Puttaswamy’s two toes of his right leg.
Puttaswamy was rushed to Gopala Gowda Shanthaveri Hospital at Nazarbad where he is undergoing treatment in a Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) that provides acute care for adult and geriatric critically ill medical patients.
The incident came to light late last evening.
Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) Chairperson Mallige Veeresh told Star of Mysore this morning that Puttaswamy was operated upon and his condition is stable. Doctors were preparing to perform plastic surgery on his palm, she added.
Today morning Puttaswamy had breakfast and is out of danger, she said and added that she was on her way to the hospital to gather more information.
Puttaswamy, who also spoke to SOM, said that he was taking care of crocodiles since three years and Tuesday being a weekly holiday for the Zoo, he was cleaning the crocodile enclosure when he accidentally slipped and fell into the pond yesterday.
“As soon as I fell into the pond, the crocodile bit me on my right leg. I realised that I have been bit and in that excruciating pain, I pushed its snout with my left hand and that’s when it bit me on my palm,” he narrated.
Puttaswamy said that when he shouted for help, another Zoo keeper, who was working nearby, rushed to his help. “With the help of a stick he managed to scare the crocodile and rescued me,” Puttaswamy said. He added that he was fine now and doctors were regularly visiting him and providing necessary treatments.
Dr. Santhrupth of Gopala Gowda Hospital said that Puttaswamy is being treated at the MICU and will be shifted to the ward later in the day.
It may be recalled here that on Feb. 25, 2013, an African Hunting Cheetah snipped off a part of the finger of animal keeper Basavaraj, who with two others, was applying ointment on a wound on one of its legs.
The feline became agitated and had bitten the tip of Basavaraju’s finger.He was rushed to Gopala Gowda Hospital, where the doctors performed cross finger slap surgery following which Basavaraj recovered.
A tourist from Tamil Nadu was mauled by a tiger when he fell into a the open moat while posing for photos in 1998.
Following the incident of tigers mauling a zoo-keeper at Bannerghatta Biological Park on Oct. 7, 2017, the Mysuru Zoo authorities had said that such incidents were rare and the Mysuru Zoo was safe as it has adopted several measures over the years including strengthening of the enclosures, raising their height and also counseling the Zoo-keepers.