Nadezhda Srivastava, a Russian zookeeper forgot to lock the door while cleaning and feeding the animals at Kaliningrad zoo. A giant white tiger pounced on her as the news went viral and left the world in absolute shock. Aged 44 and mother of three, Nadezhda had a great experience of looking after the animals but, a single mistake had put her life at a life threatening risk. Mauled and left critically injured, she was rushed to hospital for treatment.
She had a close shave and miraculously escaped the attack as the tiger was distracted by the visitors who threw what they could into the enclosure to divert its attention. Ms Srivastava recollected her ordeal when she faced one of largest beast on planet earth. Speaking first time from her hospital bed she described her extraordinary fight for survival when she was mauled for ten minutes by the tiger named Typhon. It seemed to me like never ending ordeal and ‘an eternity’. When death seemed inevitable she prepared herself for death and thought of her children and mother.
She confessed, “I tried to speak to the tiger as there was no time to run. It was a natural reaction as I just said – go away, let me go”. But that was never happening as the tiger pushed her back to the ground, as the middle aged zoo-keeper tried her best to counter each and every move of the tiger. In an endeavor to save her neck and back from the attack, she tried to put her hand in its jaw but the beast badly bit her fingers and broke them apart. It bit her leg and ribs but she continued fighting bravely, as the encounter turned quite agonizing.
When Ms Srivastava wished that her painful mauling should end, she prepared herself for her death and thought of her family and mother. But simultaneously she also realized that the tiger had retreated due to some distraction by the visitors who wanted her to survive. She gathered her strength and moved to the keeper’s room and locked the door. She was later taken to hospital for treatment.
An investigation by Kaliningrad zoo has accused the keeper formally of gross violation of safety regulations. Ms Srivastava candidly admits her failure to lock the gate. It was her cardinal sin but also a lesson for herself and others. Will she again work for the zoo where she devoted 25 years of her life is still doubtful?