Monday, 30th October 2017

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Chimp bite: bit of finger severed

Asis Kumar Samanta was feeding Babu when the chimpanzee bit his finger

  • Published 18.10.19, 7:16 PM
  • Updated 18.10.19, 7:16 PM
  • a min read
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Babu A Telegraph picture

A small portion of the Alipore zoo director’s finger was severed after a chimpanzee bit it on Wednesday afternoon, said officials of the hospital where he was treated.

Asis Kumar Samanta was feeding Babu, the 33-year-old chimpanzee, when he spotted something like an insect on Babu’s nose and tried to swat it away. “But the chimpanzee bit his finger,” said V.K. Yadav, member-secretary of the Bengal Zoo Authority.

Samanta was taken to SSKM Hospital. “A small part of the tip of his left index finger (not thumb, as reported on Thursday) was severed when he came to us. There was a fair amount of bleeding. He needed one stitch and an anti-rabies vaccine. It was not a major wound and should heal soon,” a hospital official said.

This is not the first time Babu had reacted while being fed by Samanta, said a vet associated with the zoo for several years.

“In 2018 February, I was with the director when he was trying to feed Babu, who grabbed him by the arms and pulled him closer. The iron bars of the cage separated the two and the director managed to push Babu away to set himself free,” said the vet, who did not want to be named.

Samanta had shown “indiscretion” in trying to feed the animal again, the vet said.

Visitors to the zoo are not allowed to feed animals. But Yadav said the bar was on visitors who gave animals unauthorised food.

“Animals are always unpredictable. But it is not unusual for a director of a park to feed them. They have been trained to handle animals. The keepers feed them every day. They are also zoo staff,” he said.

Rajendra Jakher, the director of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, said he also feeds animals.

“Senior officials of a zoo, vets, compounders and keepers are supposed to take annual anti-rabies shots and undergo a series of checks to ensure they are not affected by parasites from animals,” he said.

Samanta’s phone was switched off when The Telegraph tried calling him multiple times on Thursday.