New Delhi: Vijay, the white tiger that mauled and killed a 20-year old man Tuesday and grabbed headlines the world over, has shown no unusual behaviour, a Delhi zoo official said Wednesday, insisting that Vijay was not a maneater as he was born and bred in captivity and knew no hunting techniques.
"He (Vijay) has been doing absolutely fine, but we will be keeping him under observation for the next four to five days. However, until now, he has not shown any unusual behaviour," R.A. Khan, curator, National Zoological Park, told IANS, a day after the gruesome incident, watched by scores of shocked visitors to the zoo, took place.
Khan put the blame on Tuesday's incident squarely on the people, who pelted stones and also screamed and shouted, after the man, identified as Delhi resident Maksood, fell into its enclosure.
Eyewitnesses and zoo officials said Maksood, 20, a resident of Anand Parbat in Delhi, had "crossed the stand-off barrier" of the white tiger's enclosure and then fell or jumped into the moat which separated the enclosure from the visitors' gallery.
"The guard posted at the enclosure tried to stop the youth twice. But Maksood crossed the stand-off barriers when the guard was not looking. He then jumped into the enclosure," he added.
"Maksood was mentally unstable otherwise why would a sane would jump into the tiger's enclosure.”
Khan added that seven-year-old Vijay ate his daily diet -- nearly 10 kg of buffalo meat - nearly three hours after he killed the man who had fallen into its enclosure and was described as “mentally unstable”. The big cat is given food daily at 4.30 p.m. He eats once in a day.
"We give the tigers a bath daily, so he was given one today also. He ate his food yesterday at around 4.30 p.m.," Khan shared.
On being asked about Vijay's behaviour, the curator said: "Vijay was born and bred here and in all these years he has never shown any signs of aggression. It is absolutely wrong to call him a maneater".
Vijay had never been in the wild and that is why, another official said, the six-feet, 200-kg tiger, did not kill at first but watched the man with curiosity.
“When the man fell in the dry moat, Vijay was on the other side (of the enclosure). It was only after he heard the loud thud he came near the moat. Vijay was raised in captivity and hence never really picked up hunting techniques..the situation could have been worse,” the official told IANS.
The zoo official added that Vijay, born in 2007 to Lakshman and Yamuna, is otherwise a calm animal and also plays at times in the evenings in his enclosure, which comprises a moat, a natural space for the animal to roam around and a concrete enclosure.
Delhi zoo has six white tigers, out of which two are males and four are females.