How To Survive An Encounter With A Wild Animal

In this handout photograph received from the Delhi police, an Indian schoolboy is confronted by a white tiger inside its enclosure at the Delhi Zoo on September 23, 2014.I’m sure you have either watched, heard about or read about the tragic accident that happened at the Delhi Zoo yesterday. A 20-year-old man climbed into the enclosure of a white tiger (either by mistake or stupidity) and was killed when the tiger attacked and mauled him.

I watched the footage and I was repulsed, obviously. I don’t condone videos of people being killed. But there were a few things that I noticed that struck me as unfortunate. The man could have actually survived the ordeal if he knew a few basic things. I am going to list them out here and I urge you to share this with as many people as possible. It might just save someone’s life.

These four basic survival rules are applicable if you ever find yourself face-to-face with a tiger or a lion – either in a zoo or in the wild.

  1. Don’t run. The minute you turn your back on the animal, it chases you down.
  2. Don’t make yourself a small target. The natural predator-prey relationship works on the intimidation principle. Stand up tall, maybe even take your shirt off and hold it out behind you to make it look like you have wings. If you make yourself look larger, the tiger or lion will think twice about attacking.
  3. Don’t urinate. Urination is a way of marking territory – the second the tiger smells your urine, it considers it a challenge and will fight you to the death to defend its territory.
  4. Make a lot of noise. The tigers are just as scared of you as you are of them. For the tiger, you are a strange sight in its otherwise human-free habitat. They are also curious about you, and being natural predators, they will want to assess whether you are edible or not. The best way to discourage the tiger is to make a lot of noise. Shout and scream  out as loudly as you can by looking at the tiger. Look the tiger in the eye when you make the noise. Don’t look away and don’t run! Stand your ground and shout.
  5. No quick. repetitive movements. Don’t move your hands around too much or twirl your shirts around. A quick moving target irritates the beasts and they will charge. Stay as still as you can, while you shout and stand up tall.

When you realize the tiger or lion is either scared or going away, back away from the place slowly. Whatever you do, do not turn your back on it. Do not run. Retreat slowly but steadily without ceasing the noise.

Follow these five basic rules and you may just live to tell the tale.

Published by Nikhil

Nikhil Kumar lives in Bangalore with his wife and their stuffed dog. They are both advertising professionals and lead very exciting lives on the streets, dodging traffic. Their fridge is filled with cans of Diet Coke and their water heater doesn't work. He doesn't smoke (up) anymore.

4 thoughts on “How To Survive An Encounter With A Wild Animal

  1. Go in and demonstrate that once for all of us…
    another footage would be good seeing practically how all this works

  2. @Shobhit
    I have. Twice. On both occasions, I managed to play a game of Taboo with the wild beasts before embarking on my journey to safety. They cheated a couple of times, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to give them a reason to get angrier. I suggested we also play a round of poker, but they were broke and couldn’t buy in. pity.

  3. Will the tips actually work when you will face a wild beast in front of you…I am not telling that it wont but in that very situation it is very difficult for a person to apply his/her brain on the mentioned 5 points….

  4. I have seen the video of the Delhi case but it does not seem that the tiger wanted to kill the man. Rather the tiger did not even ate a bit of flesh from the man’s body it was all conducted out of terror that the tiger was facing when it was shot with a stone from the balcony…..

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