Zoo Driver Bitten by Cobra Saving Tiger
MYSORE: Had it not been for an alert zoo employee, the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens may have lost a tiger cub. Shivashankar, 31, a tram driver in the zoo, in his effort to protect a tiger cub, was bitten by a cobra; he is now struggling for life at a city hospital.
The incident took place on July 30, when he saw a stray cobra entering tigress Manya’s cub’s enclosure.
Unfortunately, doctors informed him that the edge of his index finger, where he was bitten by the snake, will have to be amputated.
“I returned to duty at about 2.50 pm on Saturday after lunch and was on my routine rounds with tourists in the tram, when I noticed a snake entering into the tigress’ enclosure. As I approached the enclosure, I saw the snake going towards the cubs,” explained Shivshankar.
He adds that a little later, the zoo’s veterinary doctor, Dr Prayag, too noticed the snake slithering towards the enclosure. “I caught the snake by its tail and realized that this was not a zoo bred snake. It bit me as I managed to pull it away from the tiger cubs,” he said.
A moment’s distraction could have killed Shivshankar, but zoo authorities led by Dr Prayag admitted him at the nearest hospital immediately. He says as he relives the anxious moments: “When I saw blood oozing out, my heart fluttered; however, I knew the zoo doctor was around and he wouldn’t let me die.”
Speaking to Express, Dr H V Santhrupth, consultant surgeon at Gopala Gowda Shanthaveri Memorial Hospital, said that Shivshankar is out of danger. “The snake that bit him was a juvenile adult. Normally such snakes have more venom. He (Shivshankar) was lucky because he was brought to the hospital after he received first aid,” he detailed.