A tiger cub used as a photo prop at Jatim Park zoo in the city of Batu, East Java attacked a 4-year-old kindergartener just before a photo session, severely injuring her.
The incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday afternoon. The victim, identified by her initials TAP, was on a school field trip at the popular East Java zoo when the 6-month-old tiger cub attacked her.
“At the time the area was crowded. There were many screaming kids around. The tiger cub got startled and suddenly lunged at the victim, hugging her. During that hug, the tiger cub also clawed at the kid,” an unnamed witness told Tribun on Tuesday evening.
TAP was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Reports say that she suffered a deep wound on her chest, as well as injuries on her neck and back. The hospital’s staff said TAP received surgery yesterday.
The zoo management confirmed that the attack on TAP happened but have put it down as an accident. According to them, a zoo staff member brought the cub out of its enclosure to a public area for a photo session with visitors. Just like the witness testimony above, they believe that the cub was startled by the presence of noisy children before it attacked TAP.
The zoo pledged to cover all of TAP’s medical costs.
The Batu City Police said they are conducting an investigation into the incident.
Predatory animals being used as photo props are common in Indonesian zoos. Around this time last year, wildlife activists accused Bogor’s Taman Safari, one of Indonesia’s most popular zoos, of drugging a lion so that visitors can safely take photos with it.