For the first time, full video of July’s infamous tiger attack at a drive-thru wildlife park outside of Beijing has been released. The footage appears to raise questions about the park’s preparedness and rescue protocols.
Surveillance video from the Badaling Wildlife Park shows a car driving through the tiger enclosure. The car stops and a female passenger gets out of the front passenger’s seat and comes around to the driver’s side door.
As the door opens, the 32-year-old woman surnamed Zhao is suddenly snatched up from behind and dragged away by a tiger.
The driver, the woman’s husband, quickly goes after his wife, as does the woman’s 57-year-old mother, sitting in the back seat. At the same time, a park patrol car is seen driving quickly toward the scene.
And that’s where the original video cut off. However, the full version of the footage shows the husband running around frantically trying to get the park workers to save his wife and her mother who are at the mercy of the tigers. The workers instead choose to stay inside their cars and blow their horns at the tigers, hoping to scare them away. They tell the man to get back in his car and drive away, in order to clear more space for additional rescue vehicles. After more than a minute of pleading, he finally gets inside the car and drives away.
Over the next few minutes, multiple park vehicles enter the scene. They also attempt to frighten the tigers away from the victims by blowing their horns and revving their engines.
Finally, 20 minutes after the attack, Zhao and her mother are seen being lifted onto a rescue car by workers.
Zhao was severely injured in the attack, while her mother was killed. She has admitted fault for the tragic incident, but has also insisted that the park should take “70% of the responsibility” and is seeking 2 million yuan in compensation.
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.
In the past, legal experts have said it is unlikely that the park will be found responsible 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 vehicles and patrol cars blare similar warnings.
Zhao has rejected reports that she left the vehicle due to a fight with her husband, explaining instead that she was feeling car sick and got out of the car to switch places with her husband and was unaware that they were inside the tiger enclosure at the time. It’s not clear why she wanted to drive if she was feeling sick.
She says that the full surveillance footage proves her case and shows that the park lacked contingency plans, rescue methods and equipment.
In the past, Chinese netizens have placed the full weight of the incident on Zhao’s shoulders alone.In an online poll in August of over 310,000 netizens, only 2.3% thought that the zoo should be punished for the attack.
However, this additional footage has converted more of the public to Zhao’s side.
“The woman was obviously wrong for leaving the car, but the park’s response was obviously inadequate. 20 minutes is too long!” wrote one Weibo user.
Watch the video below.
[Images via Shanghai Daily / Video via Sina]