The woman who infamously got out of her vehicle inside the Badaling Wildlife Park says she’s planning to sue the park for subsequently being mauled by one of its tiger.
The 32-year-old tourist surnamed Zhao claims that she was not fully informed about the dangers of stepping foot outside her vehicle during the “safari-style” drive through the Beijing park, and is seeking 2 million yuan in compensation, according to the Beijing Times.
This comes after an investigation in August that found it was unlikely that the park would be found at fault for the incident. Visitors driving private vehicles into enclosures are required to sign an agreement first promising to “close and lock car doors, never feed the animals, and never get out of the car.” To remind them of their agreement, signs are placed around the zoo forbidding visitors from exiting cars and patrol cars blare similar warnings.
Tragically, Zhao failed to heed any of these warnings. She was seen on surveillance footage getting out of her car and walking around to the front driver’s side door. Unfortunately for her, she chose to leave the safety of the vehicle while her family was driving through the tiger enclosure. A tiger suddenly appeared behind Zhao and dragged 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.
The park has settled on 1.2 million yuan in compensation for the fatal incident; however, they have only agreed on paying 754,000 yuan for Zhao’s gruesome injuries. An employee surnamed Cao told the Beijing Times that the company will only consider compensating the family out of moral obligation.
Zhao has rejected reports that she left the vehicle due to a fight with her husband, explaining instead that she was feeling car sick. She has also criticized park workers for being too slow to rescue herself and her mother. Furthermore, Zhao claims that while she had signed an agreement not to exit her vehicle before entering the park, she thought that the agreement was merely some form of entry registration.
“I was wrong, but I think that the park should bear 70% of the responsibility,” Zhao says.
The Yanqing District government disagrees with Zhao’s assessment, stating that tourists must be held accountable for not abiding by park rules and ignoring warnings from park authorities.
Chinese netizens also disagree. One Weibo user sarcastically commented, “Yes, after you commit suicide, the government should bear 70% of the responsiblity.” Another commented that “This is the biggest joke I’ve heard this year!”
In an online poll in August of over 310,000 netizens, only 2.3% thought that the zoo should be punished for the attack.
Still, it’s not like no one saw this tragedy coming. The Siberian tigers at the Badaling Wildlife Park have something of a history. Back in 2009, an unfortunate migrant farmer returning from a day at the Great Wall unwittingly strolled into the tiger enclosure at the park, resulting in his immediate death. More recently, a video showing a tiger at the same park ripping off a passing vehicle’s bumper went viral in August. While other parts of the safari-style drive through the park remain open, cars still haven’t been allowed back into the tiger enclosure.
It’s ridiculous really, why can’t these naturally wild predators behave rationally?
By Seamus Gibson