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Tourists nearly main course at tiger pit
Global Times | February 06, 2012 23:45
By Wen Ya
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A total of 27 tourists were trapped in a sightseeing bus at a safari zoo in Shandong Province after the bus was attacked by tigers on Saturday. 

Though no deaths or injuries were reported, the tourists blamed the zoo's staff for neglecting their duties.

Tourists, including five children, on the bus were surrounded by up to eight tigers when they were leaving the Bengal tiger area at the Paomaling Wild Life Animal World in Ji'nan.

Tigers bit the bus tires, destroyed the windshield wipers and broke the windows. During the attack, which lasted for about 20 minutes, the front windshield of the bus was broken and the driver's hand was injured, according to the tourists.

The tourists tried to call police, but  their mobile phones couldn't find reception. They then hid themselves under their seats.

When the bus reached the gate to leave the area, it was closed and no one was on duty, said, a local news portal in Ji'nan.

"We were totally disappointed," a customer was quoted by the website as saying.

About 10 minutes later, a staff member came and opened the gate after seeing the attack.

"If he had come five minutes later, all of us would have been tiger food," one of the tour group was quoted by the Ji'nan Times as saying.

After the incident, the zoo refunded the ticket money and offered the visitors compensation in cash, said one customer, according to the report.

The zoo said that the tigers were in estrus.

But, tourists didn't accept the explanation. They complained the zoo was negligent, and the bus had nothing that could protect them.

"The bus windows are covered by iron bars, which were ripped off by the tigers," a man from the zoo's marketing department, who refused to give his name, told the Global Times Monday. "It has been proven safe. Such an incident hasn't happened before."

When the bus reached the exit, the man on duty happened to be going out for lunch, he said, adding the person would be seriously punished.

 "The zoo should also pay them for mental trauma," Wang Zhenyu, a lawyer in Beijing, told the Global Times.

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