Crocodile bites off three toes of Mysuru Zoo staffer

Mar 22, 2018

MYSURU : In an unfortunate incident, a 40-year-old animal keeper at the Mysuru Zoo lost three toes on his right leg when he was attacked by a crocodile on Tuesday. The mishap occurred when Puttaswamyslipped and fell into the pond he was cleaning at the crocodile enclosure.
The moment Puttaswamy fell into the pond, the crocodile grabbed his right leg, and he lost three of his toes as a result. His colleague Rakesh, on seeing Puttaswamy in trouble, rushed and rescued the latter with the help of a wooden pole. Puttaswamy also sustained injuries on his left palm, when he was trying to free himself by pushing the crocodile’s snout.

While the zoo manual stipulates that two workers handle cleaning activities at all enclosures as a precautionary measure, Puttaswamy and Rakesh decided to split up and work at different ponds, so that they could complete their work early. However, things took a tragic turn.

The mishap occurred late on Tuesday evening, after the zoo was closed to the public.

Chairperson of the Zoo Authority of Karnataka Mallige Veeresh told TOI, “It is unfortunate that a worker was injured in a freak accident. Puttaswamy is a skilled worker, and has been working in the crocodile enclosure for the past two-and-a-half years. From what we know, we have learnt that he lost his balance and slipped into the pond.”

Mallige added that the crocodile that attacked Puttaswamy was one-eyed, and was born in Mysuru. “Just as any other animal would react, the crocodile too attacked the ‘intruder’ to protect itself. The zoo will take care of Puttaswamy’s medical expenses. This is perhaps the first such incident at the crocodile enclosure that is well-protected and fenced,” she said.

On the other hand, managing director of the Shanthaveri Gopal Gowda Hospital Dr Santhrupth, where Puttaswamy is undergoing treatment, said that the zoo employee was out of danger. “The surgery was successful, and he has been shifted to a ward. Puttaswamy will be able to walk normally once the wounds have healed,” said the doctor.