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‘I heard a roar and a growl’: Dutch tourist survives tiger attack in Nepal

Gerard Van Laar managed to evade the tiger by climbing a tree while his guide was injured while trying to lure the big cat away

A Dutch tourist who survived a tiger attack in the jungles of south-west Nepal by climbing a tree over the weekend said Monday he was lucky to be alive.

Gerard Van Laar, who has been travelling in Nepal since last month, said he was attacked by the tiger when he and his Nepalese guide were hiking in Bardia national park on Saturday.

I was super lucky to be alive. I would have been dead if it had not been for Krishna [his guide], Laar told the Associated Press by telephone from Bardia, about 400km (250m) south-west of the capital, Kathmandu.

All of a sudden I heard a roar and a growl, and the tiger was heading toward us at full speed, he said.

Laar was able to escape by climbing a tree but his guide was attacked and slightly injured as he ran away to draw the attention of the tiger.

The tiger returned and circled the tree while Laar tried to stay as quite as possible about six metres (20 feet) above the ground. About two hours later the guide arrived back with help and they shouted and used sticks to drive away the tiger.

The guide was hospitalised for a day but Laar was not hurt.

The 33-year-old freelance engineer from Dedemsvaart, Netherlands, said he thought he would be killed until he was able to climb the tree.

Bardia in south-west Nepal is a protected national forest which is home to about 70 tigers. It is popular and receives thousands of visitors a years, but tiger attacks are rare.

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