An official investigation into last month’s fatal tiger attack at a Beijing wildlife park has found the tourists themselves were to blame for getting mauled by the park’s tigers.
While driving their car — safari-style — through the park, one 32-year-old female tourist surnamed Zhao was seen on surveillance footage getting out of the car and walking around to the front driver’s side door. Unfortunately for her, she chose to leave the safety of the vehicle while they were driving through the tiger enclosure. A tiger suddenly appears behind Zhao and drags her away. She managed to survive the attack, but tragically, her 57-year-old mother, who rushed out to try and save her, did not.
At first, many were shocked that this kind of attraction exists in the first place and that something like this hadn’t happened sooner. However, legal experts weighed in, saying that it was unlikely that the park would be found at fault for the incident.
The wildlife park warned tourists multiple times to keep themselves safe. Visitors driving private vehicles into enclosures are required to sign an agreement promising to “close and lock car doors, never feed the animals, and never get out of the car.” If a car is damaged or if someone is hurt as a result of violating the above, visitors agree in the contract to take all responsibility. Signs around the zoo, including at the tiger enclosure’s entrance, also forbid visitors from exiting cars. Patrol cars blare similar warnings.
And it turns out the experts were right, investigators found that the women ignored safety rules and the park was not to blame, the team announced yesterday. Investigators said that at the time that Zhao got out of the car, there were three Siberian tigers roaming around the area. A patrol vehicle spotted the woman and broadcast warnings, telling her to get back inside the vehicle. When the tiger attacked, rescuers reacted quickly and successfully caged the tigers, but unfortunately not in time to save the mother, Shanghai Daily reports.
While the reason that Zhao left the vehicle is not certain, relatives claimed earlier that she believed the car had left the tiger enclosure. Her husband was driving at the time, their 2-year-old son was also in the vehicle.
Still, the investigation report did state that the park needed to improve its emergency training and find better and more “innovative” methods of reminding tourists to pay attention to their own safety. Badaling Wildlife Park has stopped allowing visitors to drive through the tiger enclosure. The zoo has also once again dismissed rumors that it put any of its tigers to death after the attack.
Meanwhile, a person close to the victim’s family has revealed that the victim believes that the investigation report was biased toward reducing the park’s liability. Currently, the victim’s family is still in negotiations with the park about how much compensation they will receive for the attack.
Chinese netizens don’t think that the woman should be the one receiving compensation.
“The zoo should be asking the family for compensation, they should be compensated for their losses after being forced to temporarily shut down,” one Weibo user commented.
“Refund her the ticket fee and nothing more,” commented another.
One Sina poll of over 310,000 netizens found that only 2.3% thought that the zoo should be punished for the attack.