Victim of monkey attack at Kerala zoo recovering

September 16th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 16 (IANS) A 25-year-old worker at the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo may never forget the savage attack he suffered at the hands of three monkeys when he entered their enclosure. But zoo authorities say it was partly his fault.The Rhesus monkeys bit off a big chunk of flesh from Rajesh’s hand and even injured him on the legs and stomach when he went inside their cage to clean it up on the morning of last Saturday. He is recovering at a government hospital now.

But Sadasivan Pillai, the superintendent of the zoo, said if Rajesh had been more careful, the incident would not have taken place. Rajesh was a daily wager at the zoo and had been working there for a year.

“The normal practice for cleaning up cages is to see that the animals are first moved to a cage within the main enclosure. After that, the locks are fastened on the smaller cage and then the clean-up takes place,” Pillai told IANS.

“But that day the gate of the second cage was not fastened properly and three monkeys rushed out and attacked Rajesh,” said Pillai. “The monkeys mauled Rajesh’s hand, legs and even bit him in the stomach.”

Hearing Rajesh’s cries, zoo veterinarian Joe J. Sebastian who was close to the spot came rushing, but by that time the monkeys were eating a chunk of flesh they had bitten off from the victim’s hand.

“Since he was immediately rushed to the hospital, nothing untoward happened. The ground rule while dealing with monkeys is not to tread in their territory without taking precautions,” said Sebastian.

Rajesh is convalescing at the government hospital here. As there is always a danger of contracting rabies from a monkey bite, the wounds have not been stitched.

“He is expected to be discharged from the hospital soon,” said Pillai.

The zoo is home to 480 animals belonging to 75 species. Of these, 40 are monkeys.

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