Big Cat Attacks 2006 2010

Big Cat Attacks 2006 2010

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See recent big cat killings, maulings, escapes and stats here: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks

See recent big cat killings, maulings, escapes and stats here: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks-2000-2005/

See 1919-1999 big cat killings, maulings, escapes and stats here: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks-before-2000/

 

2010

December 4, 2010 Union Grove, AL: Frank Harmes is recovering after being attacked by a black panther near his Marshall County home. He was walking his dog in a cove behind his home near Morgan City when he heard something behind him and turned to see a black panther. (if black it would have been a black leopard or black jaguar) Harmes says he moved to try to scare the big cat away, but instead it attacked and clawed his leg. He says he stabbed the animal twice with a knife and it ran away. Residents of the area have reported seeing panthers in the past, saying they sometimes come out looking for food.

Read more: http://tdn.com/news/local/article_0aa324aa-2dba-11e0-9065-001cc4c002e0.html

 

Dec. 4, 2010 Cincinnati, OH: A  serval found in Blanchester has been returned to its owner.  Eris, a female serval, was found inside a barn on Tuesday morning hovering over a domestic cat she had just killed. Ohio initiated a ban on such animals in 2010. The cat had escaped nine days before.  Under bans, owners are allowed to keep their exotic pets until they die, but cannot replace them.  This site had a poll and the results showed 87% of the voters believe that people should not be able to possess wild animals as pets.

 

November 27, 2010 Readstown, Wisconsin: The USDA cited the licensees of Kicckapoo Bobcat & Lynx, exotic animal breeders, for failing to demonstrate adequate experience and knowledge of a wild animal when a volunteer was scratched on the face by a bobcat while trying to place water in the enclosure.

 

November 19, 2010 San Antonio, TX: A cougar escaped from the Wild Animal Orphanage while cages were being moved. Law enforcement officers searched for the animal for eight hours, during which time the cougar attacked and nearly killed a puppy. Area schools were put on alert, and recess was canceled at the elementary school. The cougar was ultimately tranquilized and recaptured.

 

Oct. 31, 2010 Belize:  A killing by an escaped4 year old, 130 lb jaguar named Max, is the latest, sad episode in a too-often-repeated series of ill-fated, cross-species encounters that usually end badly for humans and almost always worse for wild animals.  The tragedy that could have been averted if people only learned from past experience that large predators belong in their native habitat, never in cages.  Max was kept in captivity by filmmakers Richard and Carol Foster, who produced wildlife documentaries for National Geographic and escaped after winds from Hurricane Richard toppled a tree onto his cage.   The cat attacked a dog owned by the Fosters’ U.S.-born neighbor, Bruce Cullerton, and when Cullerton tried to save his pet the jaguar pounced, dragged him into the bushes and bit him savagely on the arms and neck.  After authorities found Cullerton’s mangled body they baited a steel-mesh trap, re-captured the jaguar and killed it – the circle of life, wild-animal-in-captivity style.  Says the reporter, “I’ve never been a huge fan of wildlife documentaries since I always suspected filmmakers used captive animals for much of their footage, and the Fosters’ episode would seem to confirm my suspicion.”

 

Oct. 31, 2010 So Africa:  Three lions proved who’s at the top of the food chain when they pulled an inebriated worker who was taunting them into their enclosure and devoured him before his horrified friend, authorities said.  30 year old Jan Bredenhand, who had been working as the restaurant manager for the Addo Croc and Lion Ranch near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for just one month, returned from an all-night party Sunday morning and hopped on a gate around the lions enclosure when he was attacked by three lions. It was the second mauling death of a worker by lions at the park in six years. “It was horrific,” one of the tourists, Veluchia Hassim told South Africa’s News 24 TV. “The one lion was gnawing on his ribs when we got there.”

 

October 22, 2010 Rock Springs, WI: A volunteer at Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Education Center was severely bitten by an adult tiger who grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it into the cage while the man was providing water to the big cat. Other volunteers helped the victim extract his arm from the cage, and the man was flown by helicopter to a hospital where he underwent surgery on his hand and arm.

 

Oct. 21, 2010 Youngsville, LA: Authorities say an exotic cat, they think is a Serval, is on the loose, forcing an elementary school to keep its students indoors as officials worked to capture the cat. The Daily Advertiser reports that the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Broussard Police Department, Youngsville Police Department and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries were on the scene. Sheriff’s deputies say the serval, a cheetah-like cat and native of Africa, likely got loose from its owner, who was not identified.

 

Oct. 4, 2010 S. Africa: Russell Lissack, guitarist for indie bands Ash and Bloc Party, was hospitalized with a nasty bite – from a lion! Lissack was on tour with Ash in South Africa, when he and singer Tim Wheeler decided to visit a wild animal pay to play farm.  At the facility, Lissack was playing with a lion cub when the creature bit him, drawing blood. He was driven to a local hospital for a tetanus booster but after being admitted the hospital was sealed off when two patients died from an unidentified virus. Finally, when Lissack was released, the band was involved in a car accident on the way back to their hotel.

 

Oct. 3, 2010 Idaville, IN: Two tigers escapedat Great Cats of Indiana.  Two 900-to-1,000-pound tigers escaped from a cage at a private menagerie called Great Cats of Indiana. The tigers pushed out the corner post of a cage, which was held together with approximately 10 16-penny nails. The tigers were reportedly acting aggressively and were shot by the facility’s owner.  One tiger was killed after being shot four times in the head and twice in the body with a .223 rifle and twice in body with a 12-gauge shotgun. The other sustained a wound to the abdomen from a 12-gauge shotgun. The tigers were loose for at least 13 hours before they were shot.   Sources say that the Indiana DNR and USDA were alerted later and that Joe Taft was offering to take in all of the cats and bears from Great Cats of Indiana.  In Feb. 2010 the USDA revoked the license of Great Cats of Indiana for a long list of violations of the Animal Welfare Act as it pertained to more than 50 big cats and bears.

 

Oct. 2, 2010 Western Ukraine: L’viv Circus; In this circus lion attack video Trainer Oleksie Pinko can be seen knocked to the ground as he desperately tries to herd the lions out of the ring. Pinko was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for emergency surgery. The videographer, Doug Shepherd said, “I’ve been to some great circus performances there. My son said, ‘I don’t want to go the circus ever again,’ and I don’t blame him.” Circus workers quickly washed down the circus ring to remove traces of the attack.

 

Sept. 5, 2010 West Orange, NJ: Patrons and staff had a scare at Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo after a leopard escaped, causing the zoo to be locked down and patrons moved to safe areas. Megan, an Amur leopard, slipped from the sight of her caretakers and hid behind a retaining wall in a zoo service building. The zoo closed down for about 45 minutes while personnel sedated the leopard. The zoo says the leopard was never in danger of harming the public, but eye witnesses who posted in the comments section say otherwise.

 

Sept. 2, 2010 Las Vegas, NV: An MGM Grand hotel official, Yvette Money, says an animal trainer received emergency hospital care for a bite on the leg after an attack by a lion in a glassed display on the Las Vegas Strip. The lions are bred for photo ops with the public and are owned by Keith Evans who warehouses the adults in the desert on 8.5 ac. 12 miles away. There was some connection to Feld Entertainment at some point in the past as they were seeking shelter for 60+ second hand lions.  See Attack Video

 

September 1, 2010 Las Vegas, NV: Numerous visitors looked on as an adult male lion attacked a trainer at the MGM Grand lion habitat. The victim was treated at a hospital and received stitches for a bite on the leg.

 

August 30, 2010 Springfield, OH: German Township’s Cindy Shaffer said Serafina disappeared from her Clark County home as she was letting the dogs out. The exotic cat had been missing since July.  Serafina was 9 months old, declawed and had on a blue collar. Shaffer worried the collar might become too tight for her, as she grew. In the last two months, police said there had been a few sightings of Serafina. Police said some residents were in a state of panic. “People are worried about their dogs, and if they need to keep them in,” said German Township Police Lt. Michael Stitzel. If sighted call her owner, Cindy Shaffer at (937) 346-4995, or the Clark County Sheriff at (937) 328-2560.

 

August 28, 2010 Miami, FL: Visitors to Miami’s Jungle Island stampeded over each other to avoid an escaped, 3 yr old, 500 lb. tiger named Mahesh. A monkey escaped while being transported through the zoo and 500 lb. Mahesh bounded over the 14-foot fence into the public area according to the Miami Herald. The attraction’s three big cats — which include a liger and a white tiger — have been confined to a “night kennel,” while the park investigates. “We were really scared. There were people crying,” Miami mom Dorothy Evans told the Herald, adding that people knocked each other down as they sprinted toward the shelter. “People were running for their lives,” Larry Rhodes, 46, of Pompano Beach, told the Sun Sentinel. Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll told the Herald that several people were injured while running, including a mother who fell on top of her 15-month old baby. Another guest was taken to a Miami hospital after suffering a panic attack.  Bhagavan (Kevin) Antle, who also owns T.I.G.E.R.S. in Myrtle Beach, SC and who is the owner of Mahesh, was charged with one count of maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition, resulting in threats to public safety. Park owner Bern M. Levine was charged with two second-degree misdemeanors for conditions resulting in the animals’ escape. The charges for both men have a maximum penalty of $500, FWC officer Pino said.

 

August 23, 2011 Weedsport, NY: A serval escaped from an enclosure through a gap in the fencing and was killed on the highway.

 

June 23, 2010 Quebec, Canada: Jonas, a tiger, along with two camels, Sean and Todd, were inadvertently abducted in central Quebec when thieves made off with a pickup truck and trailer as the trio of animals were being brought back from the Maritimes to the zoo in Bowmanville.  They were later found alive and returned to the zoo.

 

June 22, 2010 Jakarta: Indonesian police have arrested Akmamul Mukminin, 24, who allegedly poisoned and skinned a critically endangered Sumatran tiger in a state-owned zoo.  He could face up to five years in jail and a fine of $11,000 dollars for killing a protected animal.  The suspect allegedly killed the tiger, named Shella, in August in Taman Rimbo zoo, Jambi province, by placing poisoned bait in his enclosure after closing hours.  He then allegedly skinned it on the zoo grounds, aided by two accomplices.

 

June 14, 2010 Bejing, China: Five tigers mauled a man to death and injured his son in a zoo in China’s Shaanxi province. Xian Qinling Wildlife Park official Jiao Congling said the animals attacked the two after they entered the tigers’ zone. The father died at the scene from bites to the head and neck. “The gate to the tigers’ zone was open, so we walked in. Then the tigers attacked us,” Xinhua quoted the son as saying.

 

June 13, 2010 Coventry, UK: Police charge Alan Dudley after finding tiger and other animals parts in his suburban garage freezer. An endangered tiger, turtles, lemurs and the remains of a chimpanzee were among an incredible haul of dead exotic animals found by police in the freezer of his suburban house.

 

May 31, 2010 Brown Co., OH: The Brown County Sheriff today released new information about a mountain lion that’s reportedly running loose in that area. Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger says a Mount Orab resident bought the animal from a flea market in Lucasville, Ohio. It escaped about a month ago. The owner planned to get rid of the cat because it had gotten too aggressive. Officials got calls Wednesday and Thursday mornings saying the animal had been seen around the Rumpke Landfill off Beyers Road near Route 68. Wildlife officials are aware that the lion is loose.

 

April 23, 2010 Rockwell, NC: A 100-pound tiger broke through plastic glass while being loaded onto a trailer at Tiger World, an unaccredited zoo. For several moments, the escaped tiger was on a leash but not under the control of a handler. The tiger passed 20 to 30 feet directly in front of two families with young children, all of whom ran and hid behind a cash-register area. The USDA later ordered Tiger World to pay a $2,571 penalty for this incident.

 

April 15, 2010 Beltrami County, MN: Two 100-pound adolescent African lions bumped open a gate and escaped from an enclosure at Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land. The two lions were found wrestling with a dog in the front yard of a home in a residential neighborhood approximately two blocks away.

 

April 2010 Brown County, OH: A cougar who had been purchased as a ?pet? at a flea market escaped and remained on the loose a month later.

 

March 24, 2010 Canary Islands: Three tigers that escaped from a zoo in Spain’s Canary Islands have been shot dead by police.  The animals escaped when the enclosure at the Cocodrilos Park zoo was being cleaned by an employee, who mistakenly pushed a button that opened the cage door. The park said in a statement that four of the seven tigers inside the cage stayed put but three escaped.  About 100 police officers were involved in the operation to find the animals.

 

March 13, 2010 Shanghai: An animal keeper was killed by a Bengal tiger at the Shanghai Zoo after the zookeeper forgot to lock the tiger’s cage.  Li Zhonglin, 53, was mauled by the tiger while cleaning outside the cage with its door unlocked, according to the Shanghai Municipal Management Bureau of Greening and City Appearance.  A visitor told the Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News that he saw the tiger suddenly jump on the keeper and snap his neck before the man could cry out for help.  The 11-year-old male tiger has lived at the zoo for over a year.  Many people believe the tiger attacked its keeper out of hunger. A zoo cleaner who asked for anonymity told the Global Times that the tigers are usually hungry on Saturdays because the zoo doesn’t feed them on Fridays.

 

February 19, 2010 Wellington, FL: A Jaguar tore the thumb off of a visitor to Panther Ridge Conservation Center, owned by Judy Berens.  The visitor, whose name wasn’t released, apparently had her fingers curled around an enclosure at Panther Ridge Conservation Center when a jaguar grabbed her hand and tore off her thumb, said Gabriella Ferraro, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  It is the third time since 2005 that wildlife officials have been called to the roughly 10-acre compound off Palm Beach Pointe Boulevard. In 2008, Berens was attacked by two cheetahs as she was entertaining visitors in their enclosure. Three years earlier, a 500-pound Bengal tiger escaped from his cage.  Judy Berens had said she was paying $7,500 each for the Jaguars, Aztec and Tia that she bought from Lance Ramos, a circus owner in Balm, FL in 2004.

A   May inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that found Berens had improperly declawed two clouded leopards.  “The procedure is no longer considered to be acceptable when performed solely for handling or husbandry purposes since it can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems,” inspectors wrote.  When Judy Behrens was criticized in 2008 for paying $40,000 for two cheetahs by those who believe it feeds the market for the endangered cats, she insisted she is trying to help protect them by removing them from the wild.  She faces a $500 fine for the loss of the guest’s thumb.

 

February 4, 2010 Christchurch, New Zealand: Three cheetahs swam a moat and crawled through a hole in a rusty fence at the Orana Wildlife Park.  “Our cheetahs, just like a domestic house cat, they all hate swimming, so if you had asked me yesterday would any of our cheetahs swim I would have said no,” Anderson told National Radio. “They proved us quite wrong.”  After climbing through the hole in the fence, the cats ran in front of a park shuttle bus, causing the driver to jam on his brakes, before they were recaptured.

 

January 29, 2010 Guwahti: A tigress and her cub slinked out of an enclosure at Assam State Zoo triggering fear among 10,000-plus visitors present. Dibya, the eight-year-old female, had had a taste of human blood two years ago when she mauled a visitor to death along with another tiger.  For an hour and a half, Dibya prowled around the zoo, covering nearly 400 metres, even as visitors screamed and ran helter skelter. The thrilling drama finally ended around 11 am when the Bengal tigers were tranquilized and put back into the cage.

 

January 21, 2010 Van Zandt County, TX: A 400 lb tiger that had spent the night on the loose has been found and is being held by TX Game Wardens.  She was on the run after escaping her enclosure during yesterday’s storm.  The ownership of exotic wild animals (such as tigers, lions and jaguars) in Texas is allowed by law with a license. The animal also must be registered with the state.

 

January 10, 2010 Tornoto, Canada: The same Siberian tiger that mauled a 10-year-old Toronto boy six years ago killed his owner, Norman Buwalda, 66, who was listed as the contact person for the Canadian Exotic Animal Owners’ Association.  He had entered the cage to feed the tiger. The tiger mauled a 10-year-old Toronto boy in June of 2004, igniting a heated discussion in Southwold Township on whether exotic animals should be banned from the area. The boy and his family were visiting Mr. Buwalda’s residence when Mr. Buwalda led the tiger out of the cage to allow the boy and his younger siblings to take photos of the animal. The tiger was on a leash but lunged forward, knocking its owner off balance. Residents were furious when the town lost a court case that would have seen Mr. Buwalda’s exotic animals banned.

 

January 7, 2010 Beijing, China: A  56 year old worker named Ming at Nanhai Wildlife Park in the city of Madian in Henan province was attacked and killed by an African lion while he was cleaning out her cage.  Yang Yang, the nine-year-old African lion, has been placed under quarantine as an investigation into the incident is conducted.
In November, police in northeast China shot dead two Siberian tigers after the animals severely mauled a worker at a wildlife park in Liaoning Province.

 

 

2009

December 20, 2009 Germany: A 30 year old, female, Aschersleben zookeeper was taken to hospital in a serious condition after she was mauled by a white tiger named Karim while cleaning out his cage. He had slipped past a gate she left unlatched.  Last year Karim the tiger attacked and killed a Siberian tiger that strayed into his enclosure after a zookeeper mistakenly opened the access gate.

 

December 10, 2009 Wilmer, AL: The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office was reported by WKRG to have said the tiger was recaptured from escapting John Hightowers’ Mobile Zoo at 15161 Ward Rd. W. Wilmer, AL 36587 but the owner says there was no escape.

 

December 9, 2009 Hamburg, Germany: Christian Walliser, 28, an experienced tiger trainer, was attacked after he stumbled during the show in Hamburg. The 200 guests watched in horror as Walliser was pinned to the ground by the tigers. The tigers dug their teeth into Walliser’s head and upper body, tearing off most of his left hand. Several of the audience members, including Walliser’s boyfriend, were treated for shock. Doctors amputated Walliser’s left hand and said he had suffered serious head and chest injuries in the attack. He remains in a critical condition.

 

November 27, 2009 St. Paul, TX: A pet Serval escaped in Collin County.  The cat has been declawed and cannot protect itself, but may act aggressively if it feels threatened. The missing serval is approximately 40 pounds, is orange with black spots, and had on a black collar and a red harness.

 

November 19, 2009 China: A retired teacher named Zhu lost his fingers trying to touch a caged tiger at a circus. Zhu was seriously injured when the animal grabbed his hand and snapped off four of his fingers at the show in Nankang, Jiangxi province.  The 61-year-old reportedly lost consciousness on the spot and was later paid 3,500 yuan as compensation by the circus officials.

 

November 13, 2009 China: 2 tigers were killed after mauling a zoo worker at a zoo in Liaoning Province.  The attack is attributed to the tigers being starved. Yang Jingwel, 51, struggled desperately for nearly 15 minutes before zoo workers shot the tigers 10 times with a shotgun. A profusely bleeding Yang was seriously injured on his head, neck, hands, arms and legs, and flesh had been ripped out from the lower part of his face. “He was brought in a coma caused by excessive blood loss,” Dr. Gaoyan at Shenyang Military General Hospital, told the Xinhua News Agency. “His breath and heartbeat could be barely felt.”  “It is possible that the tigersattacked a human being because they are starved,” Wan Dongmei, professor of zoology at Liaoning University said. The zoo administration, which has a poor record of animal feeding, dealt with the revenue shortfall by sacrificing small animals to save the big ones.”Ducks and geese that once amused visitors were fed to the big cats.

 

November 9, 2009 Las Cruces, AZ: A  bobcat was captured at the former home of an exotic cat breeder named Kelli Perras and another large cat is still on the loose,
according to Doña Ana Sheriff’s Department investigators. The bobcat was isolated in a tree and shot with a tranquilizer dart to capture it without injury, after which it was transported to the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, and is expected to be sent to a sanctuary.  A  second, larger cat – possibly a pregnant bobcat or mountain lion – may have escaped the residence before investigators arrived. The residence is north of Las Cruces on King Edward Avenue, near the intersection of Doña Ana Road and West Taylor Road.  Perras had cats seized from her in June;  Bengals and Savannahs were transported to the Humane Society of the White Mountains in Lakeside, Ariz., about 130 miles northeast of Phoenix, so that they would not be euthanized.

 

October 26, 2009 Boca Raton, FL: A  Palm Beach Circuit judge told Redclift, 34, that if, in the next two months, she paid outstanding room and board – already at close to $1,000 – and got the right permit, the state would drop the charge of having Nambi the Serval without a permit.  According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a neighbor called the agency Sept. 3 to say the owner of a home in the 5100 block of Deerhurst Crescent Circle in Boca Raton had a wild cat for a pet.  The neighbor, who e-mailed photographs of Nambi to the agency, said aperson had been hurt by the cat. The FWC waited 20 days to investigate, but when they did Redclift told them the cat was a “Savannah cat” and said she’d brought it from NC.  She admitted it had escaped from the home in Boca Raton and is now trying to have the cat released from the sanctuary where he was placed upon seizure and turned over to a Miami exotic animal dealer.

 

October 10, 2009 Cleveland, OH: An adult clouded leopard escaped from an enclosure at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo when a wire in the cage broke. The leopard was tranquilized and recaptured.
October 5, 2009 Calgary Zoo, Ontario: Two 27-year-olds, Thomas Bryce-Hart and Trever Wearmouth snuck onto zoo grounds Monday morning and climbed over the public safety fence surrounding a tiger exhibit, where one man suffered serious arm injuries.  Grahame Newton, the director of corporate services at the zoo, said the men first made “unauthorized access” to the property by climbing over its exterior fence, which stands nearly 2.5 metres high and has three strands of barbed wire at the top. About two metres in from the public safety fence, a second interior fence — 4.5-metres high and electrified along four separate wires at the top — cages the tigers off from the outside world.  The exterior side of the second fence is where the injured man made contact with a two-year-old Siberian tiger named Vitali. It is believed that the man had his arm pulled through the fence after it became hooked by the animal’s claw.  “The information we have is that while his injuries appear not to be life-threatening, they are, however, quite serious,” Newton said. “I think it’s fair to say that if anybody puts their mind to it, they can breach any kind of security and that certainly seems to have been the case here,” Newton said.

 

October 4, 2009 Ross Township, PA: 37-year-old Kelly Ann Walz died after being mauled by her pet black bear.  She was attacked when she entered the bear’s cage to feed the 350-pound animal and clean its cage, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The bear lived in a 15-by-15-foot steel and concrete enclosure on Walz’s property in Ross Township.The homeowner had a permit to keep a Bengal tiger and an African lion too. This incident is not included in the totals as it did not involve a big cat killing, mauling or escaping.

 

September 30, 2009 Tucson, AZ: People outside a Catalina Foothills home couldn’t believe their eyes. A man was driving through a Catalina Foothills neighborhood and spotted an African Serval. The serval is at the Tucson Wildlife Center, a non-profit sanctuary and rehabilitation center. Lisa Bates-Lininger is founding president of the Tucson Wildlife Center. She says they had to tranquilize the big cat “She could still move and attack and she was really upset with the people around her. So we did tranquilize her and we found nothing wrong with her major,” Bates-Lininger says.  But the serval was in bad shape. “She was dehydrated and tired and just ready to give up. She may have died last night, but luckily we got her in. We got her emergency treatment, fluids for shock,” Bates-Lininger says. She’s also missing a rear leg.

 

September 29, 2009 Romania: Hunedoara zoo was evacuated after keepers spotted two tigers – a pregnant female and its mate – roaming the zoo.  They were finally shot with tranquiliser darts by zoo keepers who feared they may break out of the zoo and get into the nearby town.

 

September 10, 2009 Hanoi, Vietnam: A  tiger leaped out of its enclosure at a Vietnam tiger farm and killed a zoo worker and injured another when the cat jumped over the 8.3 foot high, electrified fence to attack the men who were planting trees. The Dai Nam zoo keeps nine adult and seven infant tigers.  In 2007, the communist government allowed some private tiger farms in southern Vietnam to keep dozens of the endangered animals as they were better equipped than state zoos.  Most conservationalists believe that this farming of tigers has been encouraged by China’s efforts to throw off a ban on using tiger parts. The talk of lifting the ban on the trade in tiger parts has increased poaching putting the tiger on the brink of extinction with only 3,500 cats left in the wild and one being killed every day.

 

August 27, 2009 Harare Zimbabwe, Africa: A lion escaped from its cage at Kyle Recreational Park near Lake Mutirikwi in Masvingo.  4 lions escaped from their cages at Simply Wild a lion breeding scam to provide canned hunts but Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers recaptured three. The runaway lions were part of the 59 that were abandoned by Ronnie Sparrow.  The trackers have been authorised to shoot the lion. Ms Washaya-Moyo attributed the escape to vandalism and theft of solar panels that used to provide power to the perimeter electric fence at the breeding cages.

 

July 29, 2009 Hyderbad, India: A white tiger at the Nehru Zoological Park wrenched the right hand of a drunken visitor when he thrust it into the animal’s enclosure after all the park was closed for the day.  Ramesh lost the muscles on his right hand from forearm almost up to the shoulder and also suffered scratches on his face. He was rushed to Osmania General Hospital where doctors shifted him to the ICU immediately.

 

July 29, 2009 Las Vegas, NV: A  white tiger that is used in a Las Vegas magic show performed a surprise disappearing act – when it escaped from its cage and went on the prowl.  Terrified residents in the northwest of the city spotted the big cat wandering the streets on Thursday evening.  Police and the Animal Rescue Service were alerted and the tiger was cornered in a family’s back garden.  Police Lt. Les Lane said the cat belonged to Fercos Brothers magic act.  Zuzana Kukol, the owner of the REXANO website that attempts to discredit those who oppose the use of big cats in circus acts, claimed to be training tigers for the 6th generation Fercos Brothers circus act in an online post to a snake owners blog.  The Fercos Brothers operate out of Pahrump, NV and FL at 6155 S.W. 123rd Av Miami, FL 33183. Fercos Brothers Circus has applied to the USFWS repeatedly in an attempt to move tigers in and out of the U.S.  Big Cat Rescue always responds with letters to the USFWS explaining that circus acts do noting to protect tigers in the wild and allowing such movement is only a detriment to both the captive tigers and those in the wild. Check CatLaws.com to send a letter of your own. Mark Smith lztwobits@ claims that Picasso the tiger escaped while being taking out for a walk, rather than from a cage…well that’s reassuring!

 

May 26, 2009 Zion Wildlife Centre, New Zealand: A zoo-keeper has been mauled to death by a white tiger in the notorious safari park, in the third attack in four months.  The keeper suffered serious “tearing” injuries to his abdomen and lower leg after being attacked when he and another keeper went to clean the enclosure. The man died at the scene before an ambulance arrived at the park. The tiger has since been shot dead.  The zoo which displays 42 lions and tigers has been embroiled in controversy over the last year. In February a keeper was hospitalised after being bitten on the knee while trying to move a tiger between two enclosures.  Demetri Price, a senior zoo-keeper, laughed off the attack at the time, saying he had “no worry at all” about the zoo’s safety.  In April, a Scottish teenager working at the park, Lisa Baxter, was left scarred for life, when Timba, an African white lion, sunk his teeth into both her hands after she put her hands through a hole in the fence designed for television cameras to stroke a cub.  The park is also currently involved in an employment dispute with Craig Busch, whose Lionman television series had an international audience.  A MAF investigation expressed concern that animals were kept in crowded, insanitary conditions.

 

May 25, 2009 East Liverpool, PA: An 11 year old girl in Columbiana County was flown by helicopter ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh after either being mauled by a pet mountain lion.  The police spokesman said, “Apparently, someone has it as a pet,” and that the child’s parents took her to the hospital directly from the scene of the incident. He was uncertain where the incident took place.

 

May 25, 2009 Lisbon, OH: A 10-year-old girl was attacked by a pet cougar while visiting the home of Chris Joseph, a family friend who owned several African lions and cougars. A young male cougar grabbed and released the child’s arm at least three times when she put her hand and arm into a cage containing two of these large predators. In order to release the girl from the cat’s jaws, the friend had to remove a fan that was in front of an opening and crawl into the cage with the animals. The girl was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. A USDA inspector cited owner Matt Joseph for two direct noncompliances in relation to this incident and warned that because the gate to the barrier fence, which is also the perimeter fence, was unlocked, “anyone could access these animals when the owners are not at home.”

 

May 24, 2009 Great Bend, KS: Officials at the Great Bend Zoo are trying to figure out how a 150-pound mountain lion escaped from its enclosure.  The 14-year-old female was shot and killed by police after escaping during feeding time. The big cat was frightened and had a history of being somewhat aggressive.

 

May 24, 2009 Memphis, TN: A Memphis Zoo investigation team said this afternoon that human error led to an incident in which a keeper was bitten by a Bengal tiger.  The keeper failed to close two internal safety doors inside the nighthouse building, according to a report from the team.  When the keeper released two Bengal tigers into their outside exhibit, one of them wandered into the unsecured walkway, encountered the keeper and bit him on his upper-right calf.

 

May 24, 2009 Næstved Zoo, South Zealand: Tigers mauled, killed and partly ate the body of a former zoo keeper, after he apparently committed suicide in their enclosure.  The body of a former employee of Næstved Zoo was partly eaten by tigers after the man broke into their enclosure on Sunday night.  A source told the newspaper that the body had been badly mauled by the tigers, which ate parts of the man’s legs and lower abdomen.  The man had been employed as an animal keeper at the South Zealand zoo for ten months, where he was described as having a deep fascination with the zoo’s Bengalese tigers. Zoo owner Peter Bo Rasmussen said that the death was a tragedy but it would not affect the way staff interact with the animals.

 

May 3, 2009 New Orleans, LA: Linda Authement of Violet said the recent discovery of her cat, Raja, with a hole in its head has her both heartbroken and angry.  Her $3,500 Savannah cat escaped and was allegedly shot by her neighbor Rene Paul Desselle. The Savannah cat is a crossbreed between a Serval African wild cat and domestic cats. They can weigh up to 25 pounds and are spotted.

 

May 2, 2009 Christmas, FL: Wildlife officials are looking for a pregnant cougar that escaped into the woods in central Florida while being transferred to a cage.  The cougar, owned by Jacob Kagan’s Jungle Adventures, escaped while being prepared for a trip to the veterinarian for a cesarean section. The cougar named Sierra is declawed, wearing a collar and in need of emergency surgery. Anyone seeing the cougar is urged to call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.  The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission permits cougars as pets in FL despite public outcry against the practice.  Jungle Adventures is located at 26205 E. Hwy 50 Christmas, FL 32709.

 

April 24, 2009 CO: A volunteer was bitten by a tiger at Big Cats of Serenity Springs located at 24615 Scott Road in Calhan.  He says ge got too close to the cage while cleaning, but one has to wonder how the cat got his mouth around the man’s arm, if it wasn’t in the cage.  This isn’t the first tragedy to occur there either;  on June 30, 2003 two tigers severely mauled an employee of Big Cats of Serenity Springs as he entered their cage. The employee was knocked down by one tiger and suffered a mangled leg and scalp injuries. As a result, the tigers were beaten with shovels and later killed.

 

April 17, 2009 Jacksonville, FL: A jaguar at the Jacksonville Zoo escaped from an enclosure through a hole in the fence. The hole may have been made by a groundskeeper. The jaguar was captured in a net and returned to the enclosure.

 

March 23, 2009 Wylie, TX: Two tigers and one lion were saved from starvation by USDA and placed at another sanctuary that claims it is in serious financial trouble  The tigers’ teeth had been ground down, and the end of the lion’s tail was raw from the cat’s worried chewing. The big cats were seized by the USDA from Marcus Cook – who has been under the federal government’s scope for years.  One concern raised was that of a video that showed a tiger biting a trainer. Cook has leased his exotic cats to zoos and theme parks.  At one point, he allowed the public to pet the animals as part of the exhibit.  Now, he faces allegations of abusing several of his large cats.  Rescuers said the large cats are recovering from one of the worst cases of abuse they have seen.  In court documents, Cook has been accused of housing tigers and lions in dangerous and filthy cages. In one case, lions were reportedly forced to live in standing water for days.  In another, documents said a tiger escaped and injured a worker.  Federal agents have tried to revoke Cook’s business license, but Cook has appealed, which allows him to stay in business.

 

March 17, 2009 Lehigh Acres, FL: David Piper says he received a call from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Investigator Lar Gregory on March 11, asking him if he would rescue and rehabilitate two female mountain lions being kept as pets at a home in Lehigh Acres.  Gregory said the home did not meet spacing requirements for keeping large cats.  (FL cage size only reguires 10 x 20 feet) The owner of the cats, John Wein, says he’s always had a fascination with large cats.  He bought the mountain lions from a supplier when they were still kittens. He had them spayed and declawed.  When they were small, he kept them in his house. But as they got bigger, they had to be caged outside. David Piper says he found the cats in unfit condition. Cherokee had an injury to her palm that had become infected. The bite had come from one of Wein’s dogs. The other, Scout, was very thin and apparently malnourished.

 

March 16, 2009 Sydney, Austraiia: A 9 year old lioness named Jamelia was shot dead after escaping from her enclosure at the Mogo Zoo, forcing dozens of visitors to hide inside buildings.  Jamelia was shot dead. “It’s an absolute loss, the team are still quite upset,” he added. “She was a very important animal and loved by the entire team.”

 

March 8, 2009 Australia: A tiger tamer wannabee needed stitches to an arm gash after being scratched by a Sumatran tiger in a play session at Australia Zoo.  Zoo director Wes Mannion said the tiger was a young male called Juma, which had been hand raised at the zoo since arriving as a cub. The tiger incident follows a January scare at the zoo when a reptile handler required treatment in Nambour General Hospital after being bitten by a brown snake while he was trying to feed it a mouse.

 

March 8, 2009 China: A Siberian tiger at a wildlife park near Beijing attacked and killed a man who climbed into its enclosure thinking he found a shortcut down from the Great Wall.  The 20-year-old man, surnamed Guo, had been hiking with two other people when the group decided to jump down to save time on the descent — unknowingly landing themselves in Badaling Wildlife World’s tiger enclosure.  The tiger pounced on Guo, knocking him down and clamping its jaws around his throat. Guo was killed instantly.  The two men who escaped told police they had seen signs around the enclosure cautioning of predatory animals but did not believe the warnings because they could not see any.

 

February 26, 2009 Lakemoor, IL: The head of a white tiger was found off a busy highway near Lakemoor and is thought to have bounced out of the back of a truck.  Police aren’t saying who owns the cat, if it lived as a pet in the area or if it was killed in a hunt.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they knew who the owner was and that it was legal to return the head to the owner.  Whether it was legal to have the cat in the first place is still unclear.  Jeff Squibb, an Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman, said a federal permit must be obtained for a private property owner to keep dangerous animals in the state.  Under the federal government’s Captive Wildlife Safety Act, it’s illegal to import, export, buy, sell, transport, receive or acquire certain big cats across state lines or the U.S. border. There are exemptions for certain entities and individuals, such as zoos, circuses, wildlife sanctuaries meeting specific criteria and state-licensed veterinarians.  Lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and cougars are covered by the federal act, as well as hybrids of the species.  But the act doesn’t ban big feline ownership.  Update:  A man from Hebron in McHenry County called to claim the skin and head that he intended to have made into a rug. He received it from a veterinarian who put down a tiger owned by Hawthorn Corp., a facility near Richmond that raises white tigers and elephants for circuses.

 

February 21, 2009 Oakley, KS: For almost 20 years Jeffrey Harsh has owned the Prairie Cat Animal Refuge.  It is next door to his Free Breakfast Hotel and a junk yard.  When Harsh came over to feed the animals that night, he noticed the perimeter fence was open and he heard screaming. “It (the lion) had him (the victim) by the arm. I broke him lose from the animal by whacking her over the head (with a steel pipe.) There was a major tear in his arm,” Harsh said. Thomas County Sheriff Rod Taylor says long before this attack the county has tried to shut the refuge down. The lions have bitten two other people. Due to the attack, Harsh agreed to give up the cats to avoid exotic animal charges. He says it’s probably a good time to do it because it’s getting too expensive to feed them.

 

February 19, 2009 New Orleans, LA: Zoo veterinarians caught a 22-pound African Serval in Uptown New Orleans, not far from the home of Wayne del Corral who was taken to court last year for keeping a Serval at his home. Corral said the cat found this week isn’t his. He said Wednesday that his own serval escaped more than four months ago in Hammond.  However, authorities say its age, sex, condition, temperament and the fact that all four feet were declawed, are “eerily similar” to the animal caught last year in the same area.  Heidi Heyns, 48, who lives nearby, said she saw a woman carrying a bag of raw meat and looking under houses in the area several days ago. The woman said she was looking for a lost cat described as looking like a Cheetah.  “She said not to approach it, that it might not be real friendly.”

 

February 18, 2009 New Zealand: A 260kg tiger named Abu, at the Zion Wildlife Gardens, latched its huge jaws into Demetri Price’s knee.  Dalu Mncube, the zoo’s most experienced big-cat keeper, plunged his fingers into the gap between the tiger’s 75mm-long teeth, before using a fire extinguisher to force the animal to release the 30 yr old Price. The Australian said Abu got scared while he was being moved and bit him four times. “It happened in a flash”  Abu is not one of the tigers that interact with the public because of his tendency to get frightened. The park is the subject of an ownership dispute between Lion Man Craig Busch and his mother, Patricia Busch.  Mr Busch was also criticised last April for failing to notify the Labour Department when a white lion bit a guide.

 

February 12, 2009 Hamilton Co. TX: Sheriff Gregg Bewley said the 300 lb tiger, removed from a flimsy 15 x 24 ft cage at 2842 County Road 203, is underweight and has hookworms, but is doing alright. Sheriff’s deputies determined the tiger’s cage was not up to code.  The cat’s owner had not registered with the sheriff’s office as required by state health and safety codes, he said. The owner is said to be out of the country.  Four charges have been filed related to keeping the tiger and failing to report it. The county judge awarded the tiger to the Humane Society who is looking for a sanctuary that can take the cat.

 

February 11, 2009 Omaha, NE: Dr Doug Armstrong, a 25 year veteran vet at the Henry Doorly Zoo, was bitten by an unconscious, 20-month-old, 200-pound male Malaysian tiger during a routine medical examination.  Armstrong, 57, was taken to Creighton Medical Center in serious condition.  The zoo’s director, Dr. Lee Simmons, said Armstrong was bitten on the right forearm — apparently as a reflex. After the tiger was weighed, workers were moving him to a sleeping cage when he turned his head, grabbed Armstrong’s arm and chomped. “The tiger bit Armstrong three times, and it was pretty severe,” Simmons said.

 

February 6, 2009 Staten Island, NY: A 30-pound bobcat that had been running free for weeks in Grasmere is now at a Long Island wildlife refuge.  The yearling, female bobcat, which was declawed, was a pet before she was released to fend for herself.  The cat is underweight and had been prowling around Brady’s Pond behind Fingerboard Road since last Thanksgiving. She was trapped by a homeowner and turned over to Animal Care and Control. Several neighborhood residents said the cat was once the pet of a couple that split up. Left with an owner that didn’t want her, the bobcat was turned loose.

 

February 2, 2009 Troy, AL: A child was clawed by a leopard at the McClelland Critters zoo when the owner of the facility took visitors behind the barrier that separates the animals from the public.

 

January 29, 2009 CO: Sandra Lee Jacobson, 40, is suspected in a hit and run Wednesday that killed two Connecticut librarians Kathy Krasniewicz, 54, and Kate McClelland, 71 and she is facing a jury trial in March on a charge of illegal possession of a tiger cub.  Authorities found a 4-month-old male tiger in a south Centennial home. Police began investigating the home after someone gave the Colorado Department of Wildlife photos taken with a cellphone showing the tiger being driven around Centennial in an SUV.  Jacobson, who faces charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

 

January 25, 2009 Thailand: Ruth Corlett, 45, was at one of those pay to play schemes called Khumsu Chiang Mai Tiger Centre (like the Tiger Temple) with her family when the one year old female tiger named Pancake mauled her leg.  Daniel Charman was horrified when the tiger attacked his friend and credits his large size, and leaping onto the tiger, with keeping the tiger from successfully dragging Corlett away.  He hoisted Corlett onto his shoulders and out of the cage.  Mrs Corlett was rushed to hospital, where she received 54 stitches on the wound. “Pancake has never bitten anyone before, despite being played with by tourists very often,” the staff member said.  Local Thai media reported that Mr Corlett is looking to sue the Khumsu Chiang Mai Tiger Centre.

 

January 18, 2009 Ingram, TX: Kimra a 300 lb pet tiger escaped from Anke Leitner and was captured in the yard of 79 year old Mildred Crenshaw on Beaver St.  The cage fell apart and the tiger hopped out at feeding time. “That’s a terrible feeling to wake up with police surrounding your house, and to look out your window and see a tiger standing there.  Nobody came to my door. Nobody called,” said Crenshaw, who went on to say that Leitner’s tiger has been a cause of concern for years to nearby residents, some of whom appealed to county and state leaders to no avail.  “Regardless of if she has the right permits and everything else, I don’t think anybody should have one, period,” Crenshaw said. “They’re not pets.”

 

January 18, 2009 Thurmont near Frederick, MD: 32-year-old Deborah Gregory of Severn was in critical condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma unit after she was attacked by a jaguar at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo, a private zoo owned by the Richard Hahn family since 1965 in Maryland that encourages up-close encounters with its animals. “She was inside the jaguar enclosure and hadn’t secured the area where she was working,” said Harold Domer, executive director of Frederick County Animal Control. The woman suffered several bite wounds, he said, and her condition was critical Sunday evening.  Two jaguars (Diego 10 and Evita 12) were in the enclosure at the time.  Marc Bekoff, a retired University of Colorado professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the author of “The Emotional Lives of Animals,” said “She’s lucky she’s alive. You’re keeping these wide-ranging carnivores in prisons. You never know what’s going on in the heads of these animals.”

 

January 8, 2009 Salem, OR: During a USDA inspection, exhibitor James Wise was demonstrating to the inspector how he gave an adult male tiger a pill. When Wise turned around, the tiger lunged at him, bit his forearm, and pushed him into a fence. Wise hit the tiger on the face until he released his grip long enough for Wise to escape the enclosure.

 

January 7, 2009 Mexico City, Mexico: A tiger bit a young man who climbed over a fence and entered its enclosure at Mexico City’s Chapultepec Zoo.  Zookeepers tranquilized the big cat, pulled the man out of the enclosure and had him taken to a hospital for treatment of his wounds.  The Chapultepec Zoo is the largest zoo in Latin America. It opened in 1923, has more than 2,000 animals from over 200 species on display and is free for residents, with an estimated 5.5 million to 8 million people visiting each year.

 

Date in 2009 unknown Kragga Kamma Game Park in South Africa:  Michelle Bodenheimer was mauled by an 18-month old cheetah cub while at the Kragga Kamma Game Park in South Africa.  The cubs were named Ranger and Strike.   “I had a claw come across the top of my head leaving me with a three or four inch gash to my scalp,” she said.  She required dozens of stitches and says park authorities made her a promise after the mauling.  “They basically said it was clear those cats were too big, too strong, and too playful,” she said. “It was too dangerous to have them with people.”

 

2008

December 26, 2008 Mexico City, Mexico: Lions and tigers were confiscated during drug raid.  A gardener detained along with more than a dozen members of an alleged drug trafficking ring testified that police threatened him to feed him to lions and tigers during a raid at a Mexico City mansion. The gardener, Fernando Maya, testified that police dragged him to cages with lions and tigers and threatened to throw him inside. “They kept saying, where is he? And that they were going to throw me to the lions, they were going to throw me to the tigers, which had not eaten.”  Eleven Colombians, a U.S. citizen, two Mexicans an Uruguayan were detained in the raid. Prosecutors said the gang allegedly arranged for cocaine shipments from Colombia to Mexico’s Beltran Levya cartel.

 

December 12, 2008 Las Vegas, NV: Numerous visitors looked on as a lion attacked and bit a trainer on the leg during a feeding at the MGM Grand lion habitat. Another trainer intervened by hitting the lion on the nose. The victim sustained injuries requiring stitches.

 

December 9, 2008 Albion, IN: Noble County 911 Director Mitch Fiandt said an18-year-old female tiger escaped from the Black Pine Animal Park.  Park officials say the tiger returned to the property 8 hours later and was back in its enclosure about an hour after that.  An Albion firefighter alerted authorities after spotting the tiger on his property.  Authorities shot the tiger with a tranquilizer, but were not immediately able to capture it.

 

December 8, 2008 Hamilton TWP, NJ: Santa Claus bit by pet bobcat in Petsmart.  Scratches and bites cover the hand and arm of Jonathan Bebbington, after being mauled by a pet bobcat who was brought to Petsmart for a photo session.  Bebbington says, “It hurt, it had a lot of power in its jaws.”  He struggled to control the cat for nearly 5 minutes while it bit him repeatedly. “He locked on here, grabbed the skin,” he says as he points to his left hand. The cat’s owner left after the incident without providing her name, though she did tell volunteers with Penny Angel’s Beagle Rescue, which ran the event, that she had it shipped from Wyoming for $1,500. It is illegal to own a bobcat in New Jersey and allegedly this owner was keeping hers tethered in yard. There have been other cases of bobcats in South Jersey, including Mr. Peepers at the Cape May County Park Zoo, which was rescued from Bridgeton. Anyone with information about the bobcat or its owner should call the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at (609) 645 5931.

 

December 6, 2008 Wisconsin Dells, WI: Alan Borud was greeted by a 50 lb Siberian Lynx in his yard.  Borud watched as the cat came up on the porch, stood on its hind legs, at which point it was about chest high to Borud, and looked in the window. He called DNR who took the cat to a local humane society.  Big Cat Rescue called the authorities and offered a home to the cat, but Derick Duane of the McKenzie Wildlife Center said the owner, Mark Schoebel, of Timbavati Wildlife Park in Lake Delton, was coming to retrieve her. They have had issues with Mark Schoebel, and have taken our name as a placement option if the owner cannot keep the Siberian Lynx contained.  The Siberian Lynx escaped while Mark Schoebel was transporting the cat to the Wisconsin Dells resort where he sets up regularly with his pay to pet and play booth.  He typically uses lions and tigers for this activity as they are bigger money makers.  Mark Schoebel is under investigation for illegal movement of exotic animals and plead guilty to providing bears for slaughter in the 1990s.

 

November 29, 2008 Cass, WV: Davide Cassell killed his pet tiger today said Hoy Murphy, spokesman for the state Division of Natural Resources.  Murphy said the snowmaking crew at Snowshoe Mountain Resort saw the big cat on Monday morning.  Cassell, who works at Mountain Lodge on Snowshoe Mountain, was trying to find the animal and tranquilize it, but ended up killing the cat instead.  Cassell had a permit for the animal.  In May 2006, an Asian brown bear owned by Cassell escaped and the 400-pound bear was not seen again.

 

November 29, 2008 Jacksonville, FL: Two bobcats at the Jacksonville Zoo escaped from an enclosure and into the zookeepers’ work area when a keeper left the enclosure door open. One of the bobcats was able to escape onto zoo grounds through another door that had been left open to the outside. The zoo was placed on lockdown and visitors were required to stay inside shops and restaurants. After nearly an hour, the bobcat was tranquilized and recaptured.November 27, 2008 Kansas City, KS: An exotic African cat (a Serval) roaming a Kansas City neighborhood has been shot and killed by police. Residents worried the cat was dangerous to children. But efforts to trap it over several weeks were unsuccessful, and an officer shot it Thursday with a patrol rifle.  Police think the cat was dumped or had escaped from people who were keeping it as a pet. The identity of the owners is not known.

 

November 26, 2008 Harrisburg, PA: A Chester County farm caretaker says he thought he was shooting a bobcat in the chicken coop — then his heart sank when he saw it had a collar.  The animal he killed was a Serval cat that someone was keeping as a pet.  Heim says once he realized he’d shot a pet, he was sad for the animal — and angry at its owner for allowing it to be out.

 

November 19, 2008 Columbus, GA: Wildlife officials say a cougar killed at West Point Lake was an illegal pet.  The 140-pound, 88-inch cat was shot by deer hunter David Adams of Newnan on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land near the Georgia-Alabama border.  Officials said the cat had not been living on wild game and had callouses indicative of living on concrete her whole life.

 

November 15, 2008 Miami, FL: A 16-year-old girl mauled by a 150-pound cougar required more than two hours of surgery to repair a large gash in the back of her neck suffered when the animal clenched its powerful jaws around her head. “It’s really a miracle that she’s alive,” said a family spokesman. Because the male cougar, named Chaos, was declawed, the girl did not suffer scratches to her face or body.  Saturday’s attack was witnessed by the girl’s mother, who had brought her daughter to work cleaning out cages at a private wild animal sanctuary in a North Miami-Dade home to earn community service hours required to graduate from high school. The cougar lunged at the teen in the yard of the home of Alan Rigerman who keeps the animals at his home in the 17900 block of Northwest 84th Avenue.  Rigerman owns a second cougar, snakes, tortoises and alligators. The girl and her mother had been brought to the home by Anthony Zitnick, 21, who after the attack was arrested on a charge of burglary of an occupied dwelling. Rigerman told The Miami Herald that Zitnick entered the property with a key he had given him after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, but that Zitnick only helped with the animals while under Rigerman’s “supervision.”  Zitnick casually knew the girl’s mother and had asked her if any of her children would be interested in the nonpaying job.  The girl and her mother had no idea Mr. Zitnick did not belong on the premises, which they entered with a key. Chaos got agitated, suddenly lurched and pinned the girl, and put his mouth around her head. A neighbor who heard the girl’s screams jumped over the fence and helped free her from Chaos’ jaws by punching the animal in the face. At the time of Saturday’s attack, Rigerman was out of town at a reptile show in Tampa. Rigerman often attends public meetings of Florida’s Wildlife Conservation Commission praising them for their lax regulations and enforcement and opposing new rules that would curb his behavior.  He has publicly threatened other attendees who favor tougher regulations.

 

November 16, 2008 Luray, VA: A 15 year old keeper lost her finger to a 5 year old tiger named Star at the Luray Zoo located at 1087 US Hwy 211 West, in Luray, Virginia 22835 owned by Mark Kilby and Jennifer Westhoff.  She was showing off and petting the cat in front of visitors at the time.  The Page County Sheriff’s Office says the girl’s finger was amputated as result of a tiger bite. The private zoo’s web page is covered in pictures of people petting exotic cats and behaving recklessly.  The Luray Zoo has frequently employed people as young as 14, said Kilby. It is a violation of VA’s Dept. of Labor laws that teens under 18 work in any “occupation that exposes them to a recognized hazard capable of causing serious physical injury or death.”  Kilby declined to discuss whether the zoo carries insurance for such attacks.  Besides the tiger, the zoo’s 37 mammals include five other breeds of what Kilby terms “big cats” – two lynxes, one serval and one bobcat.

 

November 14, 2008 Camperdown, So. Africa: 12 lions escaped the Lion Park after a storm downed the fences. Ten lions have been recaptured and are being kept in cages, while two others are still roving about the reserve. “Two lions were found at the front gate [of the park] and this was when we first became aware that the others might have escaped,” Boswell said. A search party of about 20 Lion Park staff members, a helicopter pilot and a district official from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) conservation authority searched for the remaining 10 lions throughout the morning. The police and the EKZNW officials were notified, but were asked NOT to alert the public of the potential danger lurking in the tall grass. Boswell said that the park did not want to involve the public because they did not wish to cause public panic.

 

November 13, 2008 Singapore: Three white tigers mauled Nordin Bin Montong, 32, a Malaysian working as a cleaner at the zoo, to death after the man jumped into their enclosure. “Keepers managed to separate the worker from the tiger. While waiting for the ambulance, our vets attended to him,” said Guha. “The worker tragically succumbed to his wound.” Nordin was seen behaving in an agitated manner before he fell into the moat. Terrified visitors near the section watched the vicious attack in horror and screamed, the paper said. Aziz Ansari, 16, a student, filmed the initial part of the horrific attack with his handphone. The video clip showed Mr Nordin’s desperate fight to save himself, first by trying to get up and back into the moat, then by kicking one of the two tigers.

 

November 11, 2008 Mexico City, Mexico: A tiger escaped from an unlocked cage at a commercial zoo and fatally mauled its caretaker before it was captured and killed.  State officials said that Bioparque Estrella had closed Monday when the tiger escaped his unlocked cage and fatally attacked 26-year-old Herminio Rodriguez Palma.  Some 150 police officers and zoo veterinarians began an intense search for the tiger at the 740-acre wild animal park in the countryside northwest of Mexico City. Mexico has had problems with dangerous animals escaping from their caretakers recently.  In September, a five-ton elephant got away from his trainer at a circus, wandered onto a highway outside Mexico City and was fatally hit by a bus. The bus driver also was killed.  Three tigers escaped from a circus truck and took shelter in a house in western Mexico last week and in August, a 500-pound lion escaped from a local lawmaker’s private zoo in southern Mexico, killing two dogs and a pig and attacking a woman and child on a donkey before it was sedated and captured.

 

November 11, 2008 Maddaloni, Italy: A 700lb Siberian tiger which can grow to 12 feet long prowled the streets of Maddaloni, southern Italy, for more than five hours after escaping the circus.

 

November 9, 2008 Junsele, Sweden: A keeper was mauled by a white tiger at the zoo.  The keeper, who has worked with the zoo’s tigers for 16 years, was trapped in a cage with the big cat unti the zoo’s owner, Ulf Henriksson lured the tiger away with a piece of meat so rescue workers could get the man out of the cage and into an ambulance.  The keeper was bitten in the foot and the shoulder and would be hospitalized for a couple of days to ensure against infection from the wounds, Henriksson said, noting the tiger saw the keeper more as a playmate than a threat.

 

November 8, 2008 Anchorage, AK: In the past week, three reports of the cat wandering near Fort Richardson and Point Woronzof, some 10 miles apart, have reached Rick Sinnott, Anchorage-area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The cat’s reported spots and size appear to describe the serval, an African wildcat sometimes kept as a “designer” pet, he said.  Possessing such an animal is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine, he said.

 

November 5, 2008 Mexico City, Mexico: A family in Mexico was in shock after finding a tiger, which had escaped from a circus, lying on their patio, police said. The tiger terrified the town of Zitacuaro, in western Michoacan state, as it wandered the streets for an hour and a half before entering a house.  The tiger “went through the house and lay down on the patio,” the officer said. “The family was terrified and they hid.” A total of three tigers escaped from their circus cages when the doors were left open the day before.

 

November 3, 2008 Ratchaburi: A male Bengal tiger has been on the loose in Ratchaburi since Thursday, when it escaped from its cage at a wildlife research station after attacking a keeper.  The tiger, named Silathong, attacked Bunma Thongkerd, at the Khaoson wildlife research centre as he opened the cage for cleaning. Mr Bunma was mauled but survived. The tiger slipped out of the cage and ran off.

 

October 29, 2008 Broken Arrow, OK: Safari’s Interactive Animal Sanctuary is home to 27 big cats. Former keepers have warned for years that the practices there of allowing contact with adult tigers would lead to injuries, escapes and death. SIAS’ website is covered in the typically ignorant photos of the President, Lori Ensign Scroggins (ex-wife of Joe Estes who runs Safari Joe’s) bottle feeding tigers and walking them on leashes. That kind of irresponsible behavior can only lead to tragedy for humans as well as the animals when they pay the ultimate price. Now the liger named Rocky may be killed for mauling to death a volunteer named Peter Getz who walked in the cage while feeding the cat a deer carcass.  The mauling happened in the presence of more than 40 pre schoolers who were ushered away from the scene.

 

October 29, 2008 Winston, OR: Two cheetahs headed for the Memphis Zoo aboard a Delta flight made a stop at the Atlanta airport where it was discovered one of them had gotten free in the plane. The cheetahs are one-year-old sisters from Wildlife Safari Park in Winston, Oregon.  An airline baggage worker in Atlanta opened the plane’s cargo door and found the cheetah running loose amid the luggage. The plane was moved into a closed airport hangar, and both cheetahs were tranquilized and taken to the Atlanta zoo for a few days before continuing their trip to Memphis.

 

October 29, 2008Cambridgeshire U.K.:Hamerton Zoo offers ‘Face to Face with a Cheetah’ sessions but today the face to face happened with a little boy after the Cheetah escaped the zoo.  The 6ft long animal was just 15 feet from 9 year oldToby when he spotted it. Toby dropped the bicycle he had been playing with and fled. As he reached the house the three-year-old, 66lb cheetah named Akea bit chunks out of the saddle and ripped the tires with his claws. Toby has since had nightmares over the incident. He said: “I panicked. It looked massive and really scary. I thought it would attack me. I ran as fast as I could.”

 

October 28, 2008 Latham, NY: Many attacks and escapes go unreported as those who deal in exotics do not want the bad press, but they can’t help but brag about it on what they think are private chat groups.  This was posted on Phoenix Exotics by a breeder of Savannah cats:  “Hell I got seriously bitten by a serval and I went to the ER and said I fell out of a tree and landed on barbed wire…” signed Deborah-Ann Milette, The home of the best known Savannah”MOTZIE”  In 2005 USDA fined her and revoked her license 21-C-0218 for because she allegedly drugged and killed a tiger cub among other things.  See 911AnimalAbuse.com for more.

 

October 28, 2008 Berlin, Germany: Rescue workers saved six tigers from a blazing 43-foot wagon by turning them loose on the highway.  One tiger appeared to have suffered some smoke inhalation, but the other five were in good condition, owner Daniel Renz said.  Renz said his show would go on, as planned on October 30, but the six tigers involved in Monday’s blaze — Queeni, Aschima, Lena, Sonja, Sibi and Goldi — will be given a break and some of the circus’ seven other tigers will perform in their place.  The suspected cause was an overheated suspension system on the truck, said Renz.

 

October 14, 2008 Johannesbrg, So. Africa: Nelson Silaigwana of Three Streams Farm in Mangwe was found mauled to death by escaped lions.  Two weeks ago, the eight-year-old daughter of a farmer was mauled by a lion and a lioness her father kept caged. Courtney Sparrow, who suffered a hole in her throat and serious injuries to her arms, face and head, underwent ten hours of surgery in Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg. Her father, Ron Sparrow, said he used the lions to deter attackers, but two lions broke through a weak window and the lioness attacked Courtney. A domestic worker was injured when she tried to rip Courtney from the lioness’s grip.

 

October 13, 2008 Fallon, NV: A volunteer named Emmie was invited to pet the big cats at Tiger Touch owned by John and Barbara Williamson.  She was petting a cougar named Kicky when the cat latched onto her palm and tried to drag her into the cage.  See photos of the injury and read more about the mauling HERE.

 

October 4, 2008 Palm City, FL: A 50 lb, declawed Siberian Lynx disappeared from 3560 SW Wood Creek Trail at about 4:30 a.m., shortly after owner Tina Love fed her on the screened patio.  “She’s not the type to walk around,” Love said. “But I thought she might have just wandered off.”  The property was unfenced. Love bought Simba from a breeder in Wisconsin for $2,500 after she gave away her bobcat because it was too wild. The Siberian Lynx was found again a couple weeks later, a mile and a half away, hanging out in a children’s playground.  She was confiscated by authorities as the owner did not have current permits and lacked appropriate caging.  Often Big Cat Rescue has to turn away cats, from irresponsible owners who are trying to dump them, because the owners refuse to sign a contract stating that they will never again fuel the exotic pet trade.

 

September 18, 2008 Mentone, AL: A cougar escaped from a cage at Lookout Mountain Wild Animal Park and attacked a black leopard’s foot through the fence of an enclosure. The cougar was shot and killed in order to get him to release his hold on the leopard’s paw.

 

September 16, 2008 Gaveston, TX: Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough said Tuesday that a tiger is out of its enclosure from an exotic pets center. The news follows reports of a lion holed up in a Baptist church with its owner on Bolivar Peninsula.  Yarbrough said, “I understand he’s hungry … so we’re staying away from him.”  Hurricane Ike made landfall Sept. 13 but a week later, the tiger still had not been found.   The lioness and her owner were waist deep in water in the church along with several people who had fled there for shelter.  “They worked pretty well together, actually,” said the lion’s owner, Michael Ray Kujawa. “When you have to swim, the lion doesn’t care about eating nobody.”

 

August 20 2008 Reno, NV: Washoe County Regional Animal Services originally responded to a call about a large black dog on the roof of a home in the valley east of Washoe Lake. When they got there, they found not a dog, but two black leopards on the roof. State Wildlife Department spokesman Edwin Lyngar says the cats are exotic pets that escaped from the home of their owner Andy Kay who could not be reached for comment at telephone numbers associated with the West Coyote Drive address or the Ann Road address.  Washoe County Assessor’s Office records indicate the Washoe Valley property is owned by Coyote Irrevocable Trust and that Kay is a trustee.  In March two black leopards were fired on by the police after allegedly mauling a puppy 200 yards from their home.  Those cats were never found and are suspected to be the same as these found on a rooftop.  Regional Animal Services Center Director Cindy Sabatoni said twoSiberian tigers were found in Washoe County two years ago and a bobcat was found last year in Stead.  The problem in NV is so prevalent that the tigers never even made the news.  The county has put forth a list of requirements that he is expected to meet by June 17th, 2009. One of the orders, is that Kay builds a 8-foot block wall around the cats’ chain-link fence enclsoure. Kay is also expected to notify animal control within 24 hours of the cats returning to his Las Vegas property. That applies in the event that he takes the black leopards out of jurisdiction. Animal control has pushed to revoke Kay’s permit, following the accusations that his cat escaped and put a neighbor’s pet in danger.  “What do you do with the cat that doesn’t make it into a show? They end up somehwere. Sometimes it’s in a bad situation. You never hear about it working out great for the cat for the rest of its life,” said Andy Kay.  (Why is he showing cats when he knows that showing cats is the reason so many end up unwanted?)

 

August 19, 2008 West Palm Beach, FL: Authorities found and sedated a missing tiger from McCarthy’s Wildlife Center. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the adult lion and tiger escaped and were loose overnight atMcCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary (a breeding compound and not a true sanctuary) about 20 miles northwest of West Palm Beach. Three schools, Golden Grove Elementary, Acreage Pines Elementary and Western Pines Middle, were on lock-down until the tiger was found and sedated at 11:00 am the next day. Authorities say they don’t know how the big cats escaped.  A person who answered the telephone at the sanctuary on Wednesday said they couldn’t comment and abruptly hung up.  Marc McCarthy houses 22 big cats on what appears in aerial maps to be about 8 lots in a subdivision.  In May, McCarthy was rushed to the hospital after being bitten on the leg by one of his tigers, Sabi, on the set of a rap video being filmed in Miami.

 

August 5, 2008  Richmond Township, IL: Larry Dean said he was practicing a circus act at the Hawthorn Corporation farm near Richmond when the tiger suddenly became aggressive and grabbed him with its mouth. “He had numerous scratch marks and bite marks,” said Richmond Township Fire Chief Rick Gallas. “I would say that was a mauling… he was pretty bloody.” Gallas said workers told paramedics they had to beat the tiger with baseball bats to get it to release Dean. Gallas said Dean told paramedics it was the second time a tiger had attacked him at the farm, but Dean declined to comment when asked about that on Thursday and Hawthorn’s owner, John Cuneo says Dean should not have been near the tigers.  Hawthorn owns about 50 tigers but only about 30 of the animals are at the farm, Cuneo said. Others are performing at circuses around the world, Cuneo said.  In 2003 the U.S. Department of Agriculture accused Hawthorn of failing to care for its elephants properly. But in 2004 he agreed to give away his elephants in exchange for keeping his circus tigers.  Cuneo has tried to get rid of his tigers when they won’t perform by asking Big Cat Rescue to take them, but Big Cat Rescue does not enable bad behaviour.  Cuneo’s Sarasota neighbors are concerned that he plans to move his tigers to their neighborhood as he has purchased 5 acres of beach front there and asked for permits to install n 8 foot high wall.  FL law requires 5 ac and an 8′ fence for people to keep tigers in their back yard.

 

August 4, 2008 Branson, MO: A 16-year-old boy named Dakoda Ramel is in the hospital after an attack at the Interactive Zoo and Aquarium( fka Predator World) in Branson West owned by Breck Wakefield. Rescue crews say a 16-year-oldemployee entered the tiger exhibit to take some photos for guests. Witnesses tell rescuers the teen was knocked to the ground. That’s when they say two other tigers joined in, dragging the teen to the water trough. “We have two puncture wounds on the neck, one big one on the leg, a big gash on the leg. His neck is bleeding,” a caller says on the 911 tape.  That’s the condition in which he was airlifted to Springfield, where he remains four days later in critical condition.  The father of the boy, Jim Barr said, “It was holding him down by his leg and tearing his calf off, eating it right in front of him.” A lot of people remember Predator World from last year, when some wolves, a fox and a bear escaped. The bear killed an adult tiger at the park.  What this park is known for is its interactions with animals like sharks, tigers and alligators. The family of sixteen-year-old Dakoda Wood is taking Predator World to court claiming the tiger bit Wood on the neck, damaging his spinal cord. Wood’s attorneys say the attack caused paralysis and injury to his whole body. Now Wood’s attorneys want to hold the tiger’s owners responsible for injuries the lawsuit claims will cause Wood to suffer a diminished capacity for work, labor and pleasure for the rest of his life. Wood’s attorneys say the business is responsible because the business failed to train and supervise the 16-year-old. They claim the business also failed to restrain the tiger. The lawsuit states Wood has and will pay numerous medical bills because of the attack. Attorneys claim he has also suffered anxiety of the body and mind.

 

August 3, 2008  Warren County, MO: A 26 year old volunteer named Jacob Barr was mauled by a tiger at the Wesa-A-Geh-Ya Animal Facility and lost his leg below the knee.  The Warren County Sheriff’s Department responded, to a report of a dog attack. Staff at the compound described not a tiger, but rather a pitbull attack. “This was not a dog attack, it was indeed a cat (800 lb tiger) attack on the person,” Sheriff Kevin Harrison said. “And that they had tried to mislead my investigators and cover it up.”  The victim lost his leg below the knee and was airlifted to Barnes Hospital by Arch Air Medical.  The tiger named Hercules who was said to have hopped the fence was shot to death by the owners, Ken and Sandra Smith. They then hid the body at a family member’s house.  The farm is home to 50 exotic animals and has been criticized by animal protection groups and USDA.  About four years ago, the USDA filed allegations against the Smiths that included not providing proper veterinary treatment and lacking adequately trained employees. The Smiths gave up their exhibitor license and later had it revoked for operating without a license.  They are no longer inspected by USDA and the Sheriff’s office has no resources to devote to managing these kinds of operations.

 

July 17, 2008 New Zealand Safari Park: Lisa Baxter, a 19 year old tour guide knew that if she screamed it would wake the rest of the pack and she would be killed, so she quietly worked to free her hands from the piercing bite of 18 month old Timba, the lion.  Lisa, of Gullane, East Lothian, said: “I was stroking Timba’s nose when he just grabbed my hand. His teeth were razorsharp and went straight through my skin.”  Later she added, “My hands were so swollen, I thought they were going to explode.”

 

July 14, 2008 El Paso County, CO: El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies searched for an African lion who was spotted running loose by two witnesses, one of whom saw the lion chase several dogs through a field. Photographs confirmed that the animal was indeed an African lion, and the Sheriff’s Office concluded that the animal was likely an escaped pet.

 

July  10, 2008 Atlanta, GA: A serval was found wandering near 14th Street and Georgia Tech in mid-town Atlanta and picked up by Animal Services who said the problem is more prevalent than most people think.  Owning an exotic cat as a pet is illegal in GA unless it is being used for “education” so when exotic cats escape their owners rarely come forward.  Big Cat Rescue received a report from a neighbor saying that the owner had become fearful of the cat as he matured and turned him loose on purpose.  The cat, dubbed Ozzie, has been placed in a licensed facility.  GA has no accredited sanctuaries, so that probably wasn’t a happy ending for the cat.

 

June 20, 2008 Thailand’s Tiger Temple: In a report on the Tiger Temple released today is documented and account of a Thai woman who came with her partner to help raise funds for the Temple, put her hand into the tiger, Dao Ruang’s, cage to pet her. Dao took hold of the woman’s hand with her mouth. When the frightened woman tried to pull her hand away, Dao Ruang bit through it and held on. The woman’s partner came over and hit Dao Ruang over the head. The woman’s hand was badly torn between her 3rd and 4th fingers and required numerous stitches to close the wound. On other occasions, investigators observed tigers attacking staff and volunteers. One resulted in an injured finger, which needing suturing, another a French volunteer whose shirt was ripped, narrowly missing her neck and another a Danish volunteer who was tackled to the ground by and bitten on the leg. The resulting injury got infected and the volunteer need medical treatment at a hospital. During an interview with a journalist in January 2008, the Abbot was asked why the tigers do not bite. The Abbot said, “They want to bite and one day they will bite.” Meanwhile the Monks spray tiger urine in the cats’ faces to subdue them. Animal Planet has removed all references to the show.  Read the entire report HERE.

 

June 19, 2008 Newton County, MO: A deputy shot and killed a 6 month old, declawed, black jaguar after being called to the home of a woman who thought she had seen a cougar. The jaguar had body fat, but no food in its stomach, and his paw pads indicated having been kept on concrete, which means he had escaped from captivity. Missouri does not regulate non-native wildlife, so the agency has no records that might have revealed where the jaguar was being kept.  Last month, a declawed black leopard was shot to death in Neosho, MO.

 

June 17, 2008  McAllen, TX: Police said Michelle Ashton, 49, who was arrested while exchanging carriers filled with six tiger cubs in a parking lot, could be linked to a suspected tiger-smuggling ring. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Alejandro Rodriguez says it appears the cubs were bound for Mexico when they were seized. According to the feds, smuggling wildlife is a lucrative business that ranks second only to drug smuggling. “It’s a very huge problem,” Fish & Wildlife Service Agent Nicholas Chavez said. “It’s been prevalent for years. It’s something that we see definitely every week.” “You could get anywhere from probably $3000 to $25000 a piece for them depending on what color they are, what they look like,” he said. Ashton allegedly told police that she was a representative of Spring Hill Wildlife Ranch outside of Calvert in Robertson County. If convicted Ashton could face a $250,000 dollar fine and up to five years in prison for violating the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  Wildlife trafficking earns billions of dollars annually. Smuggling wildlife products feeds into multipurpose criminal distribution networks that generate what Younger called “peripheral crime.” This includes corruption of officials, falsification of documents, intimidation and murder. “Once we start to dig into these things we find that not only are they smuggling wildlife, for example, but they’ll be smuggling narcotics, or diamonds or gold bullion,” he said.

 

June 12, 2008 Shifang, China: Following an earthquake on May 12 and mudslides that caused 400 people to flee on foot, a circus turned loose many of their animals and left 3 lions and 2 tigers behind in cages. On June 3 soldiers shot one 2 year old tiger to death in his cage. One white lion had starved to death already. When Chen Qinghua, head of Wanguan Group, was informed that a tiger and 2 lions were still alive, he organized a rescue party who transported the big cats by helicopter to the Bifengxia Zoo. They had gone without food or water for 25 days.

 

June 7, 2008 Tokyo, Japan: Zookeeper, Atsushi Ito, was mauled to death by an 11 year old, 330 lb. male tiger while cleaning the animal’s cage at the Kyoto City Zoo in western Japan. Police suspected Ito had failed to lock a door that connected two cages.

 

June 6, 2008 Winnepeg, Canada: Kelly John Clarke, 38, sometimes called the Tiger Man of St. Clements has been charged with two counts of first degree murder in connection with the brutal killings of Joel Labossiere, 34, and his pregnant wife Magdalena, 33, who were found shot to death inside their St. Vital house on April 20. Clarke first made headlines in 1997 when his Midwest Exotics – a business that bought and sold exotic animals to pet stores, zoos and universities – brought to his St. Clements home Sheena, a Siberian tiger. When his trailer burned to the ground 1998, surrounding residents pressured council to bring forward a restricted exotic animal bylaw. Most of the animals were confiscated, but in August 1999, Winnipeg police seized the 250-kilogram Sheena after the tiger was spotted in a cage in the back of a van in River Heights. In December 2001 Clarke was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and a 10-year weapons prohibition for 14 armed robberies. He went on the spree to fund a $1,000-a-day crack cocaine habit. In August 2007, Clarke was arrested in Selkirk and charged with intimidation after allegedly disrupting a Winnipeg trial and following a Crown attorney while she drove home from work. These are the kind of people who have big cats as pets.

 

May 27 So. Africa: A man in his forties was attacked and killed by six lions on a lion farm in Setlagole, near Mafikeng, North West police said.  Superintendent Koos Degenaar said the man went into the lion’s cage to give the animals water.  He was then attacked by six lions. All that was left of the man were fingers and intestines. This is the sixth such incident to be reported in the province in two years. Other incidents include a 13 year old boy who was killed by lions at Tosca, two people who were killed on two different farms at Zeerust, anther fatal lion attack at a farm near Swartruggens and a fifth occurred near Potchefstroom.

 

May 26, 2008 South Bend, IN: A Potawatomi Zoo worker was attacked by a leopard as she cleaned the cat’s holding area, leaving her with head wounds.  Zoo visitors watched Saturday as veteran zoo keeper Jeri Ellis was wheeled away on a stretcher, her head wrapped in bandages and towels spotted in blood.

 

May 24, 2008 Detroit Zoo, MI: Royal Oak – An animal handler at the Detroit Zoo has received stitches after beingscratched and bitten by a lioness named Katie.  The Detroit Free Press reports the attack happened shortly after Saturday’s 5 p.m. public closing time.  Zoo spokeswoman Patricia Mills Janeway says Brett Kipley, who in his 20s, received stitches at a hospital. The newspaper says Kipley used pepper spray to fend off the animal during the attack.

 

May 21, 2008 Neosho, MO: A 61 year old woman was chased into her house by a black leopard.  An officer on the scene said he shot the cat with a shot gun two or three times as it approched him and then fired several rounds from a .45 caliber Glock into the cat’s chest before stopping him.  The cat was pawing at the door to get into the house when the police arrived.  The leopard was a declawed pet that had escaped or had been dumped.

 

May 14, 2008 Russia: A drunken Russian zookeeper, who was mauled by a lion after climbing into its pen May 1 at a zoo in the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, died in hospital Tuesday, investigators said. The man, who had been suspended from work for being drunk, entered the animal’s enclosure while the lion slept and was attacked by the big cat as he tried to tap it on the nose.

 

May 11, 2008 Toledo, OH: The Toledo Zoo said that a zookeeper suffered three lacerations to the chest while caring for the tigers. The tiger’s paw made it through a double mesh barrier at an odd angle, enabling the tiger to come into contact with the keeper.

 

May 10, 2008 Carrollton, IL: Authorities have seized an African Serval named Max from Tammy Ruehl who was keeping it as a pet without a permit.  Ruehl says she received a $75 fine. Carrollton Police Chief Mike Kiger says the state had the right to confiscate the animal.

 

May 5, 2008 Loxahatchee, FL: According to PR-inside.com and Palm Beach Post: “Mark McCarthy who took his tiger onto the set of rapper Rick Ross’ new video, was savagely attacked by the white tiger. The big cat, which featured in the background of one of Ross’ scenes with Nellie was being used as a prop to look like the rapper’s pet.  The tiger turned on the unnamed trainer when he tried to coax the fierce creature out of its cage during filming. Reportedly agitated from being in chains all day, the tiger bit the trainer’s leg as he tried to remove it from its cage.  The tiger’s keeper suffered severe bite wounds to his right leg and was rushed to hospital after the attack.  Now laid up, McCarthy had to cancel some of his other gigs. “Won’t be the first time I’ve been bit, won’t be the last. I’ve been bit by everything from venomous snakes to tigers and leopards and monkeys and who knows what else,” said the 52-year-old owner of McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary.  He said the $5,000 bonus he got for the video will barely make up for the shows he missed. ”

 

May 9, 2008 Muskegon, MI: Both a serval and a bear are believed to have escaped April 28 or 29. Numerous residents in Fruitport Township reported seeing the bear early this week before it was recovered.  The serval, a declawed cat with no way to protect himself or hunt, is still missing.  He escaped through a window in the room where he was kept. DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said the agency probably will seek a misdemeanor charge against the owners for failure to report the missing bear, as required by the SPCA’s permit.

 

May 1, 2008 Quebec: The 70-kilogram king of the jungle, who goes by the name of Boomer, has been on the lam since heescaped last night from a house where he was kept as a man’s personal pet. The lion, which is about four feet high, was last spotted beside Highway 105, near Maniwaki, about an hour north of Ottawa.

 

April 18, 2008 Los Angeles, CA: Five Circus Vazquez tigers have been evicted by Los Angeles animal welfare officials because the big-cats earlier attacked and killed another tiger in their small cage. Department general manager Ed Boks says the tigers killed one of their own in Huntington Park on March 31 and the U.S. Department ofAgriculture cited Circus Vazquez for having too many tigers in close proximity to each other. Los Angeles officials went to the San Fernando Valley where the circus was performing across from the Panorama City Mall and the tigers were close together in the same cage. Boks says it was believed to be a public danger.

 

April 18, 2008 San Francisco, CA: Nicki Phung, 31 and Steven Tieu, 38, admitted in federal court to trying to illegally import a real, stuffed tiger into the United States. The two were caught in December when a U.S. Customs official at San Francisco International Airport inspected a box labeled “toy tiger” mailed from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and bound for the couple’s home in Hercules, CA.

 

March 29, 2008 Wellington, FL:  Judy Berens, owner of Panther Ridge Sanctuary, was showing off her two male cheetahs, Matt and Charlie, that she says she paid $40,000.00 for in Africa, when they knocked her down and punctured her arms and back more than 40 times before volunteers were able to rescue her.  Berens says she has to pay another $10,000. to the Cheetah Conservation Botswana and Cheetah Outreach as part of her deal with the US Fish & Wildlife Service who are not supposed to allow the import of endangered species unless doing so somehow enhances their species chances at survival.  Many of these Cheetah conservation centers are merely breeding facilities that supply cats to zoos and private collectors.  (The cats are not set free.)  Berens has more than twenty exotic cats in her 5 acre back yard and said, she fashioned herself after Katharine Hepburn’s leopard-owning character in Bringing up Baby. “I figured if she can have a leopard, why can’t I..?.” Judy Berens’ comment is exactly why displaying big cats as tractable is harmful to people and the cats. If show biz had not portrayed Hepburn as a master of the leopard, Berens might not have shelled out 7500.00 for her Jaguars nor the 50,000 for her pet Cheetahs. As long as people, like Berens continue to exhibit exotic cats as if they were tame, others will say, “…why can’t I?”

 

March 28, 2008 Davenport, FL: Darryl Atkinson of Horseshoe Creek says the animals have to go now that he won’t be able to exhibit them for money.  He has more than 30 big cats in cages that have been cited more than 40 times for being too small and too flimsy.  When Big Cat Rescue called to see if they could help they were told that Atkinson was going to work with Bhagavan Antle (T.I.G.E.R.S. in SC and FL) and that his cats were going with him.  There isn’t much the state or federal government can do to stop him if another dealer is willing to let him continue to operate under their license.

 

March 24, 2008 Las Vegas, NV: A panther likely kept as a pet attacked a dog in the back yard of a home in a residential area. Police attempted to shoot the panther, but the animal escaped.

 

March 20, 2008 Ontario, Canada Bowmanville Zoo: A martial arts teacher knocked over by a lion during a photo shoot for Desi Life at Bowmanville Zoo says she is happy to have come away with four broken ribs and a bloodied lung. “To be honest, the sensation I have is a great deal of gratitude to be alive,” Gitanjali Kolanad said yesterday.  In the video, one minder kicks the baby lion in the neck while the other pulls on a leash. The lion takes a second, unsuccessful lunge at Kolanad as she lies gasping, before he is hauled out the door. “I couldn’t breathe – that was the terrifying part. The muscles in my chest seized up and they didn’t relax until I was in the emergency room and they gave me a muscle relaxant.”  See it here: http://www.thestar.com/DesiLife/article/347684

 

February 23, 2008 Miami, FL: A pet serval was turned in, no questions asked, at an exotic pet amnesty day sponsored by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.  100 owners dropped off bags full of pythons, scorpions and assorted other reptiles, birds and mammals.  “This is garden-variety stuff,” said exotic pet veterinarian Thomas Goldsmith, who examined the submissions. “This is Miami. People have sloths and leopards and God knows what else.”  The FWC then gave the dumped pets to new owners.  One of the people surrendering her pets, Christie Lyon said, “People have no idea what they’re getting into.”

 

February 21, 2008 Honolulu, HI:  A 245-pound Sumatra tiger named Berani was discovered wandering around an unsecured area just before the Honolulu Zoo’s opening on Thursday. A startled female volunteer reported the escape after the tiger brushed past her. Zoo workers describe 8-year-old Berani as the tamest of three tigers at the zoo. Quintal says staff members who cleaned the tiger enclosure failed to properly latch a gate.

 

February 21, 2008 Johnstown, OH: Ben Uditis was driving when he noticed a fire at 3159 S. County Line Rd. Editis woke Rick Armstrong and helped him get his animals out of his garage, including a caged tiger.  Firefighters arriving on the scene had to work around the big cat to put out the blaze. ( Since no one was harmed, this is not included in the totals above as an incident although the first responders would certainly call it one. )

 

February 13, 2008 Bracebridge, Ontario: Provincial police were forced to shoot and kill a six year old jaguar named Bhino after he broke through a chain link cage at Guhu Exotic Animal Reserve. When officers arrived, they found the jaguar with the family’s pet dog in his mouth. The dog was on a chain and therefore couldn’t escape the jaguar and had to be put down because of severe injuries.

 

February 10, 2008 West Palm Beach, FL: A Palm Beach Zoo employee was bitten by a tiger during a training session. The worker was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

 

February 9, 2008 Davenport, FL: Brenda Chapman was clawed by a tiger named Kheira while cleaning out its cage, atHorseshoe Creek said Gary Morse of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.The incident comes on the heels of Darryl Atkinson‘s Feb. 1 arrest on charges of grand theft and signing a forged instrument. The commission said it found Atkinson accepting money from people on court-ordered probation in exchange for signing off on community service work they did not do. “That’s just not what I need with all this other stuff,” owner Darryl Atkinson said.

 

January 24, 2008 Seattle, WA: Two declawed, yearling servals were found wandering around West Seattle. Animal Control picked up one on Jan. 1 as it was going after some cat food left on a doorstep. Officers picked up the second one on the grounds of Madison Middle School.  Officer Don Baxter suspects they both belonged to the same owner, who has not claimed them.

 

January 20, 2008 Cedar Creek, TX: A volunteer at the Capital of Texas Zoo was bitten by a cougar when she reached into the pen to pet the animal. The cougar gripped her arm and the girl sustained a broken thumb and bites that required stitches. She was the second person to be bitten by this animal this year.

 

January 18, 2008 Mayes County, OK: The fire at Safari Joe’s Exotic Wildlife Refuge destroyed a large barn that housed big cats, monkeys, birds and reptiles. Joe Estes, who owns the refuge, says he was able to save some tigers and lions but at least two tigers housed on the property died in the flames along with about 100 other exotic animals.

 

January 10, 2008 San Francisco, CA: A 90-pound snow leopard at the San Francisco Zoo nearly escaped after he chewed or tore through a steel mesh wall that separated the feeding cage from a zookeeper service area. The animal created a hole large enough to get his leg and head through. This is not incl in the totals above as it was not an actual escape.

 

Unknown Date in 2008, Panama City, FL: Jim Broaddus, owner of Bear Creek Feline Center (est. 2000) was quoted by Will Hobson of the News Herald Writer on February 28, 2009 as saying, “I probably shouldn’t even tell you this, but I was in the hospital for a while last year … Cleo (a 200-pound mountain lion AKA cougar) slapped me in the head. It wasn’t his fault, he was just doing what cats do.”  The blow gave Broaddus a subdural hematoma.

 

 

2007

December 27, 2007 Manitowoc, WI: Two cougars escaped at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Mayor Kevin Crawford said “These animals can’t survive in the wild.  People who think they are releasing these animals as a service to the animals are just wrong. They still have killer instincts and could have threatened area residents. A zookeeper saw cougar tracks in snow and discovered the animals had escaped between 7 and 8 a.m., Crawford said.

 

December 25, 2007 San Francisco, CA: A Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped at the San Francisco zoo, killing17 year old Carlos Sousa who was in the cafe and mauled two other young men (19 and 23) before police arrived on the scene and shot Tatiana to death.  All three boys were from San Jose.  The zoo says they don’t know how she escaped.  Tatiana’s enclosure was reinforced after the cat’s first attack two days before Christmas last year. In the attack that occurred last year, Tatiana chewed off keeper Lori Komejan’s arm during a regular afternoon feeding at the Lion House. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health later ruled the zoo was responsible for that incident, blaming poor training and the way the tiger enclosures were designed. The city, which helps fund the zoo, has been sued by Komejan and is assessing whether it is liable for the Christmas Day mauling. The identity of the dead victim, Carl Sousa, Jr., has been made public and his parents have been interviewed on TV and elsewhere over the last couple of days. But the names of the two other victims, who are brothers and frinds of Sousa’s, were not revealed. Until 12/29/07. From a report this morning by the AP’s Jordan Robertson and Marcus Wolhsen: The 4-year-old tiger, a female named Tatiana, went on a rampage near closing time Tuesday, killing Sousa and severely injuring the two others before police shot it to death. Brothers Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 23, were at San Francisco General Hospital with severe bite and claw wounds. Their names were provided by hospital and law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the family had not yet given permission to release their names. After interviewing the brothers, police said Kulbir Dhaliwal was the animal’s first victim. As the tiger clawed and bit him, Sousa and the younger brother yelled in hopes of scaring it off him, police said. The cat then went for Sousa, slashing his neck as the brothers ran to a zoo cafe for help. After killing the teenager, the tiger followed a trail of blood left by Kulbir Dhaliwal about 300 yards to the cafe, where it mauled both men, police said. Four officers who had already discovered Sousa’s body then arrived and found the cat sitting next to one of the bloodied brothers, police Chief Heather Fong said. The victim yelled, “Help me! Help me!” and the animal resumed its attack, Fong said. The officers used their patrol car lights to distract the tiger, and it turned and began approaching them, leading all four to open fire, she said.  Read all of the stories online

 

December 25, 2007 Dallas, TX: A pet tiger who was wearing a collar was found shot to death alongside I-35E in a vacant lot near the Madison Point Apartments in Dallas, TX.  Big Cat Rescue is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.   Officials believe the tiger was illegally kept, violently killed and unlawfully dumped on a city street.  “This is a horrible example of what humans are capable of,” said Louis Dorfman. “Somebody out there thought they were going to make a pet out of this animal. These are never pets.”  News 8 has learned the death of the tiger was subsequently linked to a notorious west Dallas gang that kept the tiger in a house.  More HEREMan Killed by Tiger at Zoo

 

December 20, 2007 India: A 50-year-old man, a school teacher, was mauled to death by a Bengal tiger at a zoo in Assam, India.  Two tigers who were in a cage pounced, with one of them tearing his hand and arm apart when the man extended his camera toward the cage for a better picture. The man, his wife and two children, were visiting the zoo in Assam’s main city of Guwahati when the incident took place.

 

December 3, 2007 Acton, CA: Chris Orr, a 40 year old caretaker who had worked at the facility for more than 20 years, was bitten on the neck and critically mauled by a 4 year old, 450 lb tiger named Alexander at the Shambala Preserve.  Orr was airlifted to a hospital and is in stable condition.  “It’s a terrible, terrible thing that has happened,” Hedren said, adding that many of the tigers in her sanctuary come from abused backgrounds. “Who knows what happened to this tiger? People have kept them in closets, basements. Two of them were kept in air-conditioning systems. What makes these animals so dangerous is for no reason at all this kind of accident can happen. It isn’t the tiger’s fault. It is the fault of the people breeding these animals in the first place that leads them to be here.”She described the tiger in Monday’s incident as a “mutt” that was probably bred in the United States as an exotic pet. The facility was established on 80 acres in 1972 by actress Tippi Hedren as a retirement home for lions and tigers that she co starred with in the movie Roar. About 70 big cats normally live there and include lions, tigers, ligers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, a lynx and a Florida panther.

 

November 21, 2007 St. Louis Zoo, MO: A Cheetah cub named Zuri escaped by scaling a ten foot wall. Twenty-seven minutes later, the cheetah was found, tranquilized and returned to her exhibit. She is one of four born on Nov. 10, 2006, at the zoo. One of the cheetahs died a month later. The incident marked the third time since 2000 that a cheetah has escaped from the zoo.

 

November 19, 2007 Wakefield, OH: Pike County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call of a lion “attacking” vehicleson U.S. 23 found Terry and Vicki Brumfield trying to capture the 550-pound feline. Lambert had broken out of his pen in Piketon. Brumfield raises lions as an escape from depression and owns two lions, Lambert and Lacey. Although he says he loves his pets, Brumfield said he was prepared to shoot Lambert. Ohio doesn’t require permits for exotic animals, but that would change under an Ohio House bill now in committee. Terry Brumfield faces three misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, including failure to provide his two lions with a clean, healthful environment. Pike County Humane Agent John Owens says an inspection of Brumfield’s property showed that the cage where two lions were kept was caked with manure and littered with rotting animal carcasses.

 

November 14, 2007 New Hampton, IA: A Chickasaw County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a tiger that escaped from Joseph and Dawn Schmitt. When the sheriff and two deputies arrived, the full-grown tiger was attacking the family’s collie. The county doesn’t have any licensing laws for exotic pets and the matter has been turned over to the USDA. The family also has two cougars and a bear.  Tiger news HERE

 

November 9, 2007 Inverness, FL: 5 tigers and a lion were seized from Susan MacKay’s home by the FWC.  Witnesses and video showed the animals to be walking skeletons.  She and her late husband, Wild Bill MacKay, ran a roadside tourist trap and bred tigers for sale to private owners.  Reports say that the FWC was aware of the starvation for two years and had already seized another cat previously. MacKay claimed to be feeding a cut up tiger in her freezer to the living cats.  The cats were sent to another private owner who has 200 exotic pets including 14 big cats in his residential backyard lot that is only 2.5 acres.  That owner claims that he will find them yet another home, but zoos do not take castoffs from the exotic pet trade, so that means they will likely go to yet another ill equipped owner. Starving tiger news HERE

 

November 1, 2007 Mahopac, NY: An emaciated Serval seized from a squalid home. “What we’re finding now is in its feces, there’s a lot of Styrofoam,” said Ken Ross, chief of the SPCA of Westchester’s Humane Law Enforcement division. “It was eating whatever it could. It was extremely hungry.”  Louis Pinto, 54, who is on parole after a drug conviction, was charged with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, in the serval case. The serval wasn’t the first large feline to lead Pinto to legal trouble. In 1998, DEC officers removed Dax, a 5-month-old domesticated bobcat, from his home.  In 2002, Pinto was charged with first-degree criminal possession narcotics after authorities seized $1 million worth of the illegal drugs.  Serval news HERE

 

October 25, 2007 Saginaw, TX: Gizmo the pet serval escaped through an open window Thursday night and was last seen Tuesday morning in a field near a school, rec. center and residential area. Gizmo weighs about 35 pounds and has been de-clawed. The cat was later recaptured.

 

October 23, 2007 Mossel Bay, S. Africa: Jurg Olsen, owner of the Jukani Wildlife Ranch and Care Centre near has had an operation to his hand after a black leopard bit him. As he was cleaning Diablo’s night house he said “a miscommunication between animal and man” led to his left hand being bitten.

 

October 1, 2007 Pahrump, NV: A cougar escaped from a holding pen at Running Wild animal compound and attacked a volunteer who entered the enclosure with a bucket of meat. The woman was knocked to the ground by the cougar and bitten on the neck, back, hands, and arms. The cougar stopped the attack when emergency sirens approached the facility.

 

September 8th, 2007, Phoenix, AZ: An African Serval cat bolted from its owner and is loose on Valley streets far from its native African savanna. The animal has been Shaw’s pet for about three weeks. She said she got it from a woman in Kentucky who had to get rid of it.  “The cat was being beaten with a belt from her soon-to-be ex-husband,” Shaw said.  Shaw said the animal escaped 12 days ago while she was playing with it.  “She went straight bee-line, so fast it was unbelievable, right over that fence,” Shaw said. Details HERE

 

September 4, 2007 Kaxakhstan, Almaty: A lion escaped from his cage at a Kazakh zoo over the weekend. The six-year-old lion called Adam sneaked out of his cage through a door that had been accidentally left open.  The lion roamed around freely for half an hour before zoo workers lured it back to safety. Just a month ago, three bears broke out of their enclosure in the same zoo in southern Kazakhstan.  Details HERE

 

August 22, 2007 Belize: Canada Lynx dies in Hurricane Dean. Big Cat Rescue had been working with the Placencia Humane Society in Belize since February to try and relocate a Canada Lynx that had been confiscated by the government after her owners smuggled her into their country illegally. We had everything ready on our end, but despite the best efforts of the staff of the Placencia Humane Society, the veterinary community and concerned citizens, we could not get the Belize government to pay attention to the matter and process the necessary paperwork for her exportation.  On August 21 Hurricane Dean slammed into Belize as a Category 5 storm, killing 42 people and the Canada Lynx.

 

August 8, 2997 Heritage Park, CO: A serval named Sir Sidney escaped from Ken Koster’s motorhome in Steamboat Springs while he was visiting with family.  Koster lives in Wyoming.   It is illegal to own a serval in Colorado, and DOW officer Haskins said Koster could face fines as a result of bringing the animal into the state.  Haskins said it’s become popular to own exotic pets such as servals, describing them as the latest designer pet. (Our definition of a pet is an animal who doesn’t run away from you the first chance they get)

 

July 30, 2007 Xinyi, China: A zookeeper in China was killed when he forgot to move a tiger out of its cage before going in to clean it. Police shot the tiger dead after discovering the zoo’s only tranquilliser gun was also inside the cage. Zhang, a keeper in his 60s, drove a tiger into an inner cage before entering the outer cage at the zoo in a park, colleagues said, but forgot about the second tiger.

 

July 16, 2007 Patton Township, PA: Sgt. Frank Monroe said officers received a report Friday night of a cheetah running across state Route 550, but the animal turned out to be a serval, a medium-sized wildcat native to Africa. Police are seeking the owners of the serval, because the animal could not survive a central Pennsylvania winter, Monroe said. Police have posted fliers asking residents to be on the lookout for the animal.

 

July 14, 2007 San Antonio, TX: Jeff Tierney was in critical condition Saturday after a Sumatran tiger mauled him while he was inside the animal’s enclosure at the San Antonio Zoo.  Around 2:30 p.m., 911 dispatchers received a call about a man who had suffered trauma at the zoo, in the 3900 block of North St. Mary’s Street. As sirens wailed and visitors began to leave the park, emergency radio traffic blared that the man had suffered multiple injuries to his head and also to his body. Jeff Tierney, reportedly in his 20s, was airlifted to University Hospital. Tierney was in critical condition when he was taken into surgery late Saturday evening.

 

July 7, 2007 Yellville, AR: Brent Marshall was air lifted to Baxter Regional Medical Center after an attack occured while he was cleaning out the pen of his declawed cougar. Marshall reported that the cat knocked him to the ground and began biting him on the back of the neck, head and leg.  His wife, Anna, ran into the pen and pushed her fingernails in the cat’s neck and made him retreat to the back of the pen. She pulled her husband out of the pen, closed the door and called 911.  This happened just moments before the couple were to release the cougar to a sanctuary because they were moving.

 

June 24, 2007 South Africa, Morokweng village: The North West provincial government remains mum on the action to be taken against the owners of the lions who killed a nine-year-old boy on a farm near Bray last weekend. Tshepo Gaorupi was mauled by two lions when he reportedly stuck his hand through the fence of the enclosure housing the lions on Woodborrow farm. All that remained of the nine-year-old boy was a small piece of his skull. The Congress of South African Trade Unions is threatening to stage protest marches against the departments of justice, safety and security and agriculture for the failure to protect the rights of ordinary people.

 

June 23, 2007 Africa, Johannesburg: An 18-month-old baby girl is in a serious condition after she was attacked by aleopard through a fence at a game farm just outside Heilbron in the Free State, paramedics said on Saturday. “According to eyewitnesses on scene, the girl’s father was holding her in his arms when the leopard somehow managed to grab her through the fence,” said Beech. She said the little girl sustained serious facial injuries and was transported to the Midvaal Hospital, in the Three Rivers area. She was in a serious condition. “Her father sustained injuries to his left hand and was also transported to hospital in a stable condition,” she said.

 

June 21, 2007 Polokwane, South Africa: A Zimbabwean illegal immigrant was killed and his brother narrowly escaped death when they landed in a lion enclosure at a game farm in Limpopo, police said on Thursday. June 5, 2007 Mexico City, Mexico: A tiger and lion kept in small cages on a store rooftop fatally attacked their caretaker.  Mexico City police say the man was feeding them when the felines swatted at the man’s legs and pulled him down. The tiger died from complications due to sedation and shoving a block of wood in his mouth.  The 56 year old owner had raised the cats from cubs and kept them on the roof of his meat packing plant. See Video HERE

 

May 11, 2007 B.C. Canada: A 32 year old woman named Tanya Dumstrey-Soos was mauled to death, in front of her horrified children, by a tiger owned by Kim Carlton of Siberian Magic.  Witnesses at the scene said she was killed by being too close to the cage.  Kim Carlton’s business puts on exotic and magic shows and offers photos with the big cats.  Two years ago a vet had determined these animals’ living conditions (12 x 12 cages) were putting them in distress and the SPCA wanted to move in but had not found anywhere suitable to place them.  The SPCA noted this would have been avoided by a ban on the private possession of big cats, such as many other Canadian provinces already have.

 

April 11, 2007 Krugersdorp on Gauteng’s West Rand, Africa: The Ngonyama Lions Lodge which was owned by Dirk Brink, is set to be auctioned off. Brink was found dead in the lion enclosure last month. He signed the mandate for the auction just hours before his death. The business will be auctioned in May. Steve Van der Berg, Aucor property’s spokesperson, says Brink made arrangements with him to sign the mandate. This has paved the way for the lodge, which houses several amenities and wildlife, to come under the hammer.

 

April 26, 2007: Unknown locality.  This event did not make the regular news, as many of these cases do not, but was caught on tape and aired at LiveLeak.com  This video of a man being mauled, to death and back, is very disturbing.  Do not open this link unless you are over 18 and can handle the horrific scene.  Video Here

 

March 20, 2007 Kenya, Africa: TV presenter Simon King was mauled by a cheetah, which pounced on the star at the Lewa Wildlife Conservatory during filming for BBC show TOKI’S TALE – in which he releases a cheetah he hand-reared for four years into the wild. King was taken to a nearby hospital after the wild beast inflicted a large wound in his arm. He was treated along with a female colleague, who was also attacked by the cheetah, and both were given anti-rabies treatment.

 

March 13, 2007 Podgorica, Montenegro: A Siberian tiger at a private zoo in Montenegro bit off an arm of a woman who tried to feed the animal. Slavka Sekulovic, 58, had put her arm into the cage with two Siberian tigers when one of them grabbed it and bit it off, said doctor Zoran Srzentic who admitted the woman at a nearby hospital.”The tiger just wouldn’t let it go,” he said. The tigers were brought into Montenegro last year from Bosnia. The authorities initially had detained three people on suspicion of smuggling the animals but no formal charges were raised. The owner, Stojan Sekulovic, has claimed the tigers were a present for his private zoo.

 

March 4, 2007 Harare, Africa: An Australian embassy worker is recovering in a Pretoria hospital after being attacked by lions at the Lion and Cheetah Park outside Harare earlier this month. Gemma Huggins, 27, was the second diplomatic worker mauled by lions at the park and now safety concerns have been raised about conditions at the park.  In 2005 a Japanese embassy employee died of her injuries in a similar attack at the same park.

 

February 24, 2007 Denver, CO: A 27 yr old Denver Zookeeper, Ashlee Pfaff, who has worked at the zoo for a year, wasmauled to death by a 6 yr old, 140 lb jaguar named Jorge as she was working inside the animal’s cage.  It is unclear why the zookeeper entered the animal’s enclosure while the jaguar was in it, said Tiffany Barnhart, a spokeswoman for the zoo. Pfaff was taken to Denver Health Medical Center but died from her injuries. An autopsy showed death was “due to injuries to the neck, including blood vessels, spinal column and spinal cord.”  Zookeepers who entered the jaguar’s enclosure to rescue the injured worker shot the jaguar to death when it approached them, said Bannhart. The jaguar, named Jorge, came to Denver from Santa Cruz Zoo, Bolivia, in March 2005.  More…

 

February 23, 2007 China: A six-year-old girl named Rui Xin was mauled to death by a performing tiger at the Kunming Zoo in Yunnan province.  The animal lunged at the girl’s head when a flashbulb went off as the child was being photographed.  The tiger held the child’s head in its mouth for over a minute as frantic trainers beat the animal with clubs and a chair, trying to force it to let go of Rui Xin. She was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead with a crushed skull. Her mother was also bitten on the arm.

 

February 21, 2007 Napavine, WA: Paul Mason had to give up his 4 Siberian Tigers when he got evicted from his rural Lewis County home.  Problems started when Paul Mason defaulted on payments on his rent-to-own property.  Four huge Siberian tigers, Samson and Delilah, Romeo and Juliet lived in a divided 40-foot cage in the backyard of Paul Mason’s home. Juliet is believed to be pregnant.  (Since they were surrendered they are not included in statistic summary above.)

 

February 13, 2007 Spain: The two year old tiger called Melody, owned by José Antonio Roca (the man in prison on remand and said to be at the centre of the Malaya corruption case in Marbella), which has, like her owner been kept behind bars since his arrest, has been moved to the Noah’s Ark animal recuperation centre in Alicante.  The Málaga Animal Protection Society had said that the tiger was in danger of becoming schizophrenic if left where she was.  The animal, which came originally from a circus, had been kept in a cage the size of two rooms of a house.  In Alicante she is now sharing space with two male tigers, Charly and Cuqui.

 

February 12, 2007 Olmense Zoo, Belgium: Karen Aerts, 37, entered the cheetah cage, apparently by staying in the zoo after it closed.  She was a donor to one of the cheetahs, named Bongo, and it appears that she thought they felt the same way about her, that she did about them.  She was later found dead in the cage.

 

February 9, 2007 Bangladesh, Dhaka Zoo: Panic gripped the visitors at Dhaka Zoo yesterday noon when a Bengal Tiger attacked its keeper and escaped for about half an hour.  The victim, Mujibar Rahman Sheikh, 40, narrowly survived with injuries to his arms, thighs, neck and chest. Earlier, a zoo tiger killed a visiting child in 1996 and a bear killed a zookeeper in 2004. A lion also escaped a few years ago.

 

February 06,2007 Edinburg, TX: A bobcat slipped silently through the front door of the Museum of South Texas History’s gift shop. “…he just sat there like he owned the place,” said Sandra Luna. The bobcat was almost certainly an escaped or released pet. “A wild bobcat would not come inside,” said John Young, a mammologist with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife in Austin. A wild one “would be going frantic to get back out.” (Because the cat could not be verified as a pet, it is not listed above in the totals of exotic cat incidents.)

 

January 21, 2007 San Angelo, TX: A woman was bitten by a old lion cub who was less than 8 weeks old at a mall and treated at the Emergency Room for punctures.  The lion cub was being used for photo ops by G.W. Exotic Animal Foundation.  Animal Services examined the cub and said it had ringworm which is highly contagious. Even though the cub was only 54 days old he was able to bite a woman’s forearm hard enough to puncture, requiring a tetanus shot at the emergency room.

 

January 19, 2007 Novosibirsk Zoo, Russia: An unidentified man, fuelled by booze,  decided that it would be a really good idea to climb into the tiger’s enclosure and give him a hug.  The tiger didn’t think so and bit him on the arm.  Director Shilo denied that the zoo was able to prevent a determined person from getting into the animal cages.

 

January 8, 2007 Center Point, IN: A cougar scaled a 14 foot high fence and escaped Joe Taft’s Exotic Feline Rescue Center about 50 miles west of Indianapolis. The non-accredited facility currently holds nearly 200 big cats.  According to media reports a month later the cat has still not been found.

 

2006

2006 Zanesville, OH:  Terry Thompson didn’t make the news about this escape until Oct. 19, 2011 when it came out from sheriff reports that a lion had escaped his compound and that just about every month the sheriff was called out to his property because of some escape or illegal activity.

 

December 23, 2006 San Francisco, CA: “The tiger ate her hand. It slowly proceeded to eat the rest of her arm.” That’s how Vikram Chari described the horrifying spectacle that he and his 6-year-old son witnessed.  A 350-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana attacked her keeper at the San Francisco Zoo during feeding time Friday afternoon as dozens of visitors looked on. The keeper, who sources identified as Lori Komejan, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.  “The right arm was in the tiger’s mouth,” said Chari “The left arm was just being held there (in the claws) and the right arm was being eaten. She was screaming and flailing away.” This same keeper appears in the 2005 episode of Dirty Jobs called Cheese Maker (available on DVD from Discovery Ch.) In the episode, she is in the lion house, and in front of visitors and the camera, she repeatedly reaches her arms into the lion and tiger cages, hugging, scratching and kissing them and invites her host to do the same.  While feeding you can see her stick her whole arm into the cage while tossing horse meat and a whole rabbit. The Cal-OSHA report said zoo officials knew the Lion House posed a hazard, because the cats were known to be able to reach through the bars. It also found officials were remiss for not training workers in safety procedures, such as a buddy system or the use of specialized equipment.  More HERE

 

December 22, 2006: Washington, DC: The National Zoo was briefly shut down Friday after a clouded leopard was discovered missing from a wire-mesh enclosure.  Mook, a 5-year-old, 24-pound female, apparently escaped overnight, zoo spokesman John Gibbons said.

 

December 20, 2006 Searcy, AR: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission thinks the marauding Mountain Lion is a former pet who has killed three calves, chased a girl into her home, clawed a tractor as a farmer was trying to flee and chased after a woman walking her dog. “We don’t have mountain lions in Arkansas,” said Keith Stephens, assistant chief of communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “There are probably some feral ones, which would have been a domestic animal at one time, someone’s pet. It might’ve gotten too wild. When they get them as kittens they are lovable and playful, but when they get to be 100 pounds, they overwhelm a person, and they just release them into the wild.” Sasse agrees with Stephens, that what is being seen in Arkansas are mostly released pets stating “There was one owned by a drug dealer in Arkansas a few years ago, and he basically let it run free.”

 

December 18, 2006 Kiev, Ukraine: (AP)  A tiger bit off the ear of a 33 year old man who fell into her enclosure at a zoo in southern Ukraine.  The tiger attacked the man, biting off his ear and scratching his neck. He was hospitalized in a serious condition. “The man, his sister and their friend drank a bottle of vodka and then came to our zoo for entertainment,” Kyrychenko told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

 

December 11, 2006 Jacksonville, FL: Julie Johnson’s fears were eased after a man rescued her pet bobcat, who got himself stuck in a tree a week ago and would not come down.  She was concerned that with recent freezing temperatures and no food or water, the 7 month old bobcat’s life may have been in danger as he precariously clung to a small branch 80 feet above the ground.

 

December 7, 2006 Coral Gables, FL: Goya Foods executive Francisco Unanue hired Corinne Oltz of Wild Animal World to bring a 62-pound cougar to entertain his 7 year old and their guests.  The party ended badly when the cougar mauled a 4-year-old guest. An investigator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Herald that the cat’s bite “was a fraction of an inch from going to the brain stem. That would have killed the kid instantly.” The Kendall-based Wild Animal World — who has been cited in two similar past attacks — faces a misdemeanor charge of allowing injury to the public. The girl suffered severe lacerations to her eyelid, left cheek and ear. Doctors sewed back part of her severed ear.  Georgia, the cougar, was euthanized last week as part of a rabies test.  In 1999, Oltz was cited in a similar attack, also in Coral Gables. In 2001, a Wild Animal World leopard attacked a child at a company picnic in Broward County. “That one was a fraction of an inch from going to the brain stem.” remembered FFW Lt. Pat Reynolds, who is investigating the Coral Gables attack.

 

December 6, 2006 Beijing, China: A leopard was shot dead by local police after escaping from its cage the Yuanyangchi Zoo. The zookeeper failed several times to shoot the leopard with a hand-made bow and anesthetic arrow before being attacked and injured by the irritated animal. The police then shot the leopard dead. The zoo did not have a valid operation license. The animal keepers were also found to lack official qualifications for raising wildlife.

 

December 3, 2006 Zafra, Spain: A circus tiger in Spain ripped off the left arm of a 31 year old Polish man when he moved closer to have his picture made.  Hospital officials in Zafra said the man was in a serious condition.

 

November 24, 2006 Ontario, Canada: The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals removed a lion, eight dogs, six cats, two cockatoos and one turtle from the Kerwood Wildlife Education Centre after receiving complaints about animals in distress. “The (lion’s) pen was built into the wall,” Grandel said. He was in his own filth and the stench of dead flesh could be smelled from the road, more than 30 metres from the home.

 

November 24, 2006 Evansville, IN: Animal trainer Wade Burck was clawed by a tiger during a performance of the Hadi Shrine Circus. Burck received hospital treatment, including stitches, for wounds to his left forearm and leg.

 

November 19, 2006 Nashville, TN: Wildlife Coordinator Walter Cook says the animal spotted at large near Warner Park is either an African caracal or a Eurasian lynx and not a cougar as was thought previously. Both animals are legal to own as pets without a special permit and are often turned loose when they are no longer wanted.

 

November 15, 2006 Gulf Breeze Zoo, FL: For the second time in less than a week, The Zoo in Gulf Breeze has had difficulties with its large cats. The compound was closed after two cougars escaped from their pens for several hours. About 30 visitors had to move to secured areas while a search was conducted. According to news reports, an opening in the animals’ enclosure was big enough to allow them to slip away.  One cat was recaptured after about an hour, but the second cougar took a little longer to find. It was hit by two tranquilizer darts, but hid until an Escambia County Sheriff ’s Office helicopter used infrared cameras to find it.

 

November 13, 2006 Gulf Breeze, FL: Nineteen-year-old Adrienne Leopard, a zookeeper at the Zoo of Northwest Florida, was taken to a local hospital after she was injured by a leopard.  “She was too close to one of our big cats,” said Doug Kemper, executive director of the zoo. The leopard snagged her sleeve with one of its claws and pulled her arm inside (the cage). “He was just being playful,” Kemper said. “But even when they don’t intend to hurt us, they have all the tools to do so. (Our bodies) just can’t stand up to it.”  The Zoo of NW FL is located at 5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida.

 

November 11, 2006 Berlin, Germany: A Persian leopard attacked and killed a zoo worker who was cleaning its cage.  The zoo director found the 23-year-old dead from a bite to the neck. A door between the stall and an outdoor cage for the Persian leopard appeared to have been accidentally left open.

 

November 7, 2006 Aurora, OR: A three year old male Serval escaped from Crystal Bacon’s home in the 12000 block of Fargo Road NE and remains at large. Deputies found the cat about 1:30 a.m. today, and Bacon came to get it but she told deputies the animal got away again on her way home.

 

November 1, 2006 Plymouth, England: The new owners (Mee Family) of a Devon wildlife park faced a serious challenge when a jaguar escaped. Big cat Sovereign found a way out of his pen and into a tigers’ enclosure at the Dartmoor Wildlife Park before he was sedated by keepers. Campaign group, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS), said the escape was “not acceptable”. The escape, believed to have been caused by human error, is being investigated by South Hams Council.

 

October 25, 2006 Coply, TWN, OH: USDA inspector, Norma Harlan, was attacked by a white tiger during an inspection at Summit County’s L&L Exotic Animal Farm owned by Lorenza Pearson. The 14 year old female tiger reached out and pulled her toward the cage, then managed to get her arm into her mouth.  Harlan was treated at Akron General Medical Center.  She previously had inspected the farm on Oct. 12 and was concerned about two tigers and one lion cub.  In 1983, Pearson’s 2-year-old son was killed by a Bengal tiger. In 1997, his 2-year-old grandson was attacked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Pearson for 900 violations. Witnesses described Pearson’s farm as largely unsanitary, lacking in federal safety measures and nutritional standards, and extremely lax in veterinary record-keeping regulations.

 

October 16, 2006 Fleetwood, NC: Susan Thomas received severe injuries at the New River Zoo when she crossed the safety barrier fence and put her arm into a leopard’s cage.  Owner Keith Stroud, after a short struggle, was able to get the leopard to release Thomas’ arm. The recommendation from the state was that the leopard be euthanized which has already occurred. “This is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. My hands were tied after the state made their recommendation and I had no choice. I was unable to save the cat’s life” said the Animal Control officer. Susan Thomas told authorities that the zoo owner, Keith Stroud was with her and encouraged her to cross the barrier and pet the leopard.  As a result, the zoo has been closed pending a full investigation.

 

October 9, 2006 Red Rock, NV: The owner of a bobcat that mauled three dogs in Red Rock has been found.  The escaped bobcat’s name is Katrina, and she is thirteen months old. The Antelope Valley owner told county workers she was tied up on a leash Thursday night, and somehow got away. One dog, Ace, was put down after suffering life-threatening injuries.October 8, 2006 LaFollette (Wate) TN: Police arrested Jerome Love on 87 counts of animal cruelty after discovering nearly a hundred pets in his yard. Officials describe the animals living conditions as deplorable. An African serval was confiscated as part of the exotic menagerie.

 

October 7, 2006 Los Angeles, CA: Tiger Escapes Handler Before Photo Shoot in Hesperia. The tiger got loose at the Cinema Safari Zoo, a facility at which animals are trained for film and educational programs. Officials said a handler was preparing the tiger for a photo shoot when it tried to attack a donkey. The tiger was shot with a tranquilizer and officials surrounded the animal. Officials from the Hesperia Zoo repeatedly declined to comment, stating that the zoo is private property and the media is not welcome.

 

October 4, 2006 Beijing, China: A circus lion startled by the audience at a show in eastern China leapt a two meter high barrier and plunged into the crowd, injuring three people including a woman who suffered a miscarriage. The lion was performing for a small roaming circus. Frightened by noise from the 200-strong audience, it lunged into the panicked crush of spectators. “One pregnant woman was crushed and suffered a miscarriage from the shock,” the report said. “Because the lion was rented, it didn’t trust the trainers,” it added. Circus staff and police chased the escaped lion as it jumped walls and rooftops, but nets and anesthetic dart guns failed to catch it, and police shot the animal dead.

 

September 27, 2006 Las Vegas Zoo, NV: A sick and starving mountain lion was dropped off at the Las Vegas Zoo. The 50 lb, declawed, neutered cub was obviously a house pet, but wore out his welcome when he started to get bigger. The zoo director says the one year old was dropped off in the middle of the night, found in a wire cage at the front entrance. Staff members say he’d clearly been starved and was severely malnourished.

 

September 22, 2006 Alaska Hwy B.C.: Police and conservation officials caught a Siberian tiger that escaped from a truck during an accident in northeastern B.C. The accident left one person in hospital with serious injuries.  The crash occurred near a former exotic animal petting zoo, where the tiger continues to live. The feline was being taken from his home when the accident occurred.

 

September 13, 2006 Balm, FL: Lancelot Kollmann stumbled inside a cage with a 250-pound tiger named Rula. He paid in blood. The last in a long line of lion tamers escaped the cage with cuts on his left shoulder and a gash on his lip that took stitches to close. Kollmann’s family has been in traveling circuses for more than 200 years. His grandfather was a lion tamer. His father and uncles owned big cats.  He is licensed by the state of Florida and USDA to exhibit exotic animals, including two leopards, four jaguars, one elephant, five lions and 14 tigers.  As of 2011 Kollman works for the Hawthorn Circus after losing his own license.

 

September 8, 2006 Queensland Zoo, Australia: Tim Husband locked 30 staff into a lodge on the Out of Africa Lion and Animal Reserve while he threw rocks at Goldie the 2 year old lion and shouted at him until the big cat eventually crawled back through a hole in his enclosure at the zoo that was caused by a grass cutter.

 

September 7, 2006 Davenport, FL: Darryl Atkinson, founder of the Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Foundation was arrested on charges of keeping a Bengal tiger in a cage that is too small and unsafe, said a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrest report. Since 2003, Atkinson has been cited more than 20 times for not having large enough cages for animals kept on the animal farm west of Davenport. He was cited an additional four times in December 2005 on the same charges, the wildlife commission said. The citations usually result in a fine, but Atkinson faces 11 first-degree misdemeanors because of the numerous previous charges he has racked up over the years.

 

August 26, 2006 Chippewa Falls, WI: A bobcat was killed at the Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls after it wandered into the cougar cage.  A keeper had left the door open, but officials also say that the antiquated cages were partly to blame.

 

August 22, 2006 Tampa, FL Lowry Park Zoo: An open cage at Lowry Park Zoo led to Sumatran tiger named Enshalla being shot to death by the zoo’s chief executive officer Lex Salisbury.  The CEO had recently fired a long term keeper who was considered too concerned about the animals’ welfare in favor of hiring staff who would not speak up for the animals.  A keeper with only two weeks of training with tigers was left by himself in charge.  AZA, USDA and the FWCC all acknowledged that there is no standardized training required. To view a list of all of the incidents reported in the press about Lowry Park Zoo click HERE

 

August 22, 2006 Peterborough, Ontario Peterborough’s Riverview Zoo: For the second time in a year a bobcat has escaped an open cage at the zoo.

 

July 18, 2006 Saratoga County Fair, NY: A white tiger owned by the the Ashville Game Farm scratched 4-year-old Riley Willard of Milton at the fairgrounds. The boy suffered a gash about an inch long and needed 14 stitches to close the wound. He was sitting on a bench positioned in front of Calcutta the 2-year-old white tiger on display as part of the backdrop for pictures of kids holding exotic animals.  The game farm’s owner, Jeffrey W. Ash, of Lick Springs Road, was charged with a misdemeanor and was cited for a violation after the incident, according to the DEC.  The Environmental Conservation Police charged Ash with failing to exercise due care in safeguarding the public from attack by a wild animal that caused bodily harm. The charge carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and a $500 fine. Ash was also ticketed for violating a condition of a DEC permit that states he must maintain the tiger in a cage that is not in contact with humans. The violation is punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $250. Ash was in court Jan. 2007 to answer a felony forgery charge in connection with providing a forged insurance certificate to the Saratoga County Fair last summer, officials said.

 

July 12, 2006 Dublin Zoo, Ireland: A teenage girl has been savaged by a rare tiger in a zoo. The 19-year-old put her arm through a wire mesh fence where two Amur Siberian tigers were resting. Parents and children looked on in horror as the tiger lunged at her and grabbed her arm trying to pull her through the fence. She was taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital where her condition was described as stable.

 

July 2, 2006 Moscow Circus: Doctors used nearly 100 stitches on Artur Bagdasarov for slash and puncture wounds when a tiger named Caesar attacked during a performance. “The tiger attacked him and started to maul him.  I rushed in and shot (a stun gun) into his jaws, and he pulled back.” said a co worker. “This tiger is just four years old and he’s been in our troupe since birth, so no one ever expected this kind of event to happen.  But, if we were to shoot every tiger that attacks us, there wouldn’t be any remaining,” his sister said.  Read more HERE

 

June 26, 2006 Atlanta, GA: An African serval escaped from its pen at a Buckhead home about a week ago. The wildcat weighs about 30 pounds and belongs to a licensed breeder, who has taped “lost serval cat” fliers to mailboxes in the area.  The cat, named Webbie, is declawed, according to fliers posted by her owner, Fred Boyajian, around the Mount Paran neighborhood. Boyajian is the same breeder who last year had a lynx escape from his Buckhead property. That wildcat was recaptured after a two-week period.

 

June 21, 2006 Kaufman, TX: A tiger chased down and mauled Donnie Roberts at Marcus Cook’s  Zoo Dynamics when a 300 lb Bengal tiger jumped a fence.  He says the tiger threw him down on his hip and got on his neck.  Roberts says he thought the tiger would kill him, but managed to stay calm. The tiger ripped off his ear and left claw marks over his body. Roberts says he believes he has about two thousand stitches.

 

June 5, 2006 Fayetteville, NC: Animal control officer, Christine Gallagher, found herself dealing with a serval, a cheetah look-alike native to East Africa pacing nervously in a neighborhood. The big cat was rounded up and taken to Cumberland County Animal Shelter.

 

June 4, Kiev, Ukraine: A lion killed a man who climbed into its enclosure at the Kiev zoo.  He used a rope to climb down into an enclosure with four lions. Witnesses said the man told them that he believed God would not allow the lions to hurt him.

 

May 16, 2006 Little Rock, AR: Michael Haney was forced to turn over his pet mountain lion to an animal shelter by the Game & Fish Department because Haney refused to apply for a permit to keep her.  Haney says it would have never hurt anyone. He even has pictures of his daughter playing with the lion. “When she was little, I couldn’t keep her out of the bed with my kid,” says Haney. “She’s going to Gainesville, Fla.,” he says. “I’ve got to have a kidney transplant and I don’t have anywhere to keep her anymore.”

 

May 14, 2006 White Hills, AZ: Jonathan Kraft runs Keepers of the Wild animal sanctuary. He told long-time friend Linda Faso that two of his tigers — Zeus and Nico — attacked a woman this month sending her into surgery at University Medical Center.  USDA spokesman Darby Holladay stated, “There is an open investigation against Keepers of the Wild.” Holladay also said the agency started investigating this week. “Suspension of license. Revocation of license or civil penalty or monetary fine,” he continued could result.

 

May 7, 2006 Johannesburg, Sun City, South Africa: Tiger nearly rips arm off 5 year old girl at Predator Park. Helen Catherine Grant, 5, from Rustenburg, was injured after she had tried to stroke the tiger while on a family outing to the park. The tiger got hold of her hand and then her arm. Her uncle had to kick the tiger, Ruby, in the face before she let go of the girl. The arm was attached only by a piece of skin on the upper arm by the time the tiger let go. Last Friday doctors were worried that the arm was too cold, and they feared that veins might have collapsed. “The arm is making good process and the surgery was successful. We don’t know yet if follow-up surgery would be necessary and how long she will have to remain in hospital,” said Grant.

 

May 7, 2006 Bulgaria: A tiger has managed to escape its cell in the Varna zoo, on the Black Sea coast. Soon after that, however, the beast was caught and fetched back to its house, local media informed. The Varna zoo is located literally on the premises of the unique Sea Garden of the city, where hundreds of families take regularly a weekend walk.

 

April 21, 2006 Shanghai, India: Lions at the Shanghai Zoo scratched a man who was teasing them by sticking his leg through the bars and wiggling it around. He admitted to having done so daily for three years before getting caught.

 

April 20, 2006 Gonzales County, TX: After a 7 year battle to rescue 2 tigers and 11 bears from living in transport cages on David Richtman’s farm authorities were finally able to seize the animals under cruelty charges and failure to register and place them in accredited sanctuaries.  The tigers were living in 4 1/2 x 8 foot enclosures for the past 9 years and the bears could not even stand up in their cages.  Read more…

 

April 6, 2006 Duxbury (15 Mi. E. of Sandstone) MN: Cindi Gamble was mauled to death by one of her tigers at the USDA inspected Center for Endangered Cats that she had co owned with Craig Wagner who was wanted for animal abuse in WI.  Wagner now runs Great Cats World Park in southern Oregon. The sheriff said one of the drop doors was apparently left open, leaving Gamble exposed to the tiger.  She died of crushing injuries to her throat and blood loss.  Investigators said the tiger was so out of control that they had to kill the cat to get to the body. Vet reports revealed that the 10 year old tiger only weighed 260 lbs; half of what it should because it was starving. Read more…

 

March 19, 2006 Palatka, FL: The Putnam County Fair will still open Monday even though a fair worker was bitten by a tiger in an exhibit there the day before.  Josip Marcan‘s traveling side show of white and tabby tigers has had a fair worker mauled. According to reports a tendon was severed and the worker was rushed to Shands hospital.  The state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission inspects every traveling exotic exhibit like this one. This particular show passed a state review just two weeks ago, Officer Kelley said. That is precisely the problem.  Read more…

 

March 25, 2006 Santa Barbara, CA: State of California orders Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch to be shut down and now Jackson is selling off his exotic animals, including elephants, tigers, orangutans, crocodile, and giraffes. A later report states that Jackson’s tigers went to Shambala but that he never paid for their care. (The Daily Record)

 

March 9, 2006 Point Breeze, PA: A 42 pound African Serval named Mr. Bigglesworth was confiscated from Mark Nernberg after his second escape.  The bottle raised pet had been loose for over a month back in August (eating what?) and was returned to his owner with the understanding that the owner aquire a permit to keep him.  At the time of his second reported escape the owner had failed to obtain a permit and so the animal is being held pending the outcome of the case. To see video of people who advocate the keeping of dangerous animals as pets, while downplaying the escapes and risks involved, visit this link CLICK HERE

 

March 4, 2006 VA: Marc Bradley, of the Snowflake community, was charged with importing and possessing an undesirable and predatory animal.  The lion is 7 months old and is still considered a cub, but it weighs about 100 pounds and “is big enough to put a hurtin’ on somebody,” said Julia Dixon, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  The cub was confiscated pending trial.

 

February 26, 2006 Moscow Zoo: Girl loses Finger Stroking “Cuddly” Leopard.  A snow leopard in the Moscow Zoo bit a finger off a girl’s hand and ate it when she tried to pat the animal that she thought looked cuddly. A 19-year-old student, Elena, was walking in the zoo with her friend, Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported on Sunday. Passing the big cats section, she was delighted to see the beautiful snow leopard, or ounce. The animal looked so peaceful that Elena decided to touch it through the cage and it instantly clawed hold of her and would not let go.  Elena managed to free her hand, but half of her right-hand middle finger remained in the show leopard’s mouth. The animal swallowed its prey in a second. The girl’s friend called an ambulance, and the doctors took the victim to the hospital and attended to her wounds. In a day she was able to leave hospital.

 

February 25, 2006 Devon Zoo, UK: A Devon zoo maintenance worker had his hand punctured by a lion while trying to mend a fence. Indu, a two-year-old Asiatic, bit the worker’s hand as he replaced a fence separating the lions from tigers at Paignton Zoo. ”A first aider was able to help until paramedics arrived.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/devon/4735920.stm

 

February 24, 2006 San Antonio, TX: A cheetah at the San Antonio Zoo escaped from an enclosure by climbing over an approximately 10-foot-high fence into a tree and then jumping to the ground. She was loose for 20 minutes before being tranquilized and returned to the cage.

 

February 15, 2006 Birmingham Zoo, AL: A worker at the Birmingham Zoo is being treated for scalp wounds Wednesday after being attacked by a lion. Dr. William Foster, director of the zoo, said Melissa Wright was taken to UAB Hospital. Foster said she was conscious and talking. The attack happened as zoo workers fed animals and moved them from their overnight holding area to their outdoor exhibit area. http://www.nbc13.com/news/7085199/detail.html#

 

February 1, 2006 Willmar, MN: The 80-pound female cougar was spotted Tuesday morning near Kennedy Elementary School. Police and local animal professionals tracked the cat around the neighborhood for two hours, shot it with four tranquilizers and finally corralled and caged it around 10 a.m. Since then, nobody has come forward to claim the cougar, but officials believe it isn’t wild. “This is not a releasable animal,” said Dr. John Baillie with the Wildcat Sanctuary. “This is not a wild animal that strayed there. This is someone’s pet.”

 

January 30, 2006 Fort Wayne, IN: A tiger escaped an enclosure at the Fort Wayne Zoological Society when a keeper failed to close a gate separating the enclosure from an aisle where the keeper was working. The keeper escaped to an unoccupied area and the tiger was tranquilized and returned to the enclosure.

 

January 10, 2006 Wellington Zoo, New Zealand: An unlocked door allowed two lions to get into an enclosure at Wellington Zoo while their keeper was laying out their food. When keeper Bob Bennett tripped trying to escape, they mauled him as patrons watched. He suffered 20 puncture wounds to his arms, back, shoulders and neck, and spent three days in hospital after the 20-minute attack. “I remember those canines sinking into my shoulder, and I thought my days were over,” said Bennett. You can watch that video of the mauling HERE

 

January 6, 2006 Center Hill, FL: Girl mauled when cougar escapes at Robert Baudy’s Savage Kingdom. A teenage volunteer was mauled by a mountain lion when he escaped after she left the door open. It is alleged that alcohol and drug abuse is to blame for the continued decline of Savage Kingdom and that the facility’s owner tried to keep the press and authorities from knowing about the incident by treating the mauled young woman with expired antibiotics.  A tree worker managed to get ropes around the escaped cat’s throat and he was strangled to death.  The girl ended up in the hospital and Florida’s Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the matter. More about Savage Kingdom.

 

 

2005 & Before

 

http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks-before-2000/

http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks-2000-2005/

Today at Big Cat Rescue Mar 6 2013 Intern Mauled to Death

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March 6, 2013 Fresno, CA: A 24 year old intern named Dianna Hanson was mauled to death while inside a cage with a four year old male lion named Cous Cous. The lion had been raised at the zoo since he was 8 weeks old. Another worker tried to distract the lion, to no avail, and the sheriff shot the cat to death, but it was too late for Dianna Hanson. The facility is called Project Survival Cat Haven and is run by Dale Anderson. On his website he says, “In the seventh grade a gentleman brought a Mountain Lion to my class… After that experience I wanted to have a cat of some kind at some later date.” This is why it is so bad to use wild animals as ego props, especially in the presence of children who will grow up to fulfill their desire to “be that guy,” even if it means dooming wild animals to life in cages.

 

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Nicole Paquette, vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the victim of Wednesday’s attack should never have been in the enclosure with the animal.

“These are big cats that are extremely dangerous, and they placed a volunteer in the actual cage with a wild animal,” she said. “That should have never happened.”

Officials at another big cat sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., told The Associated Press last year that at least 21 people, including five children, have been killed and 246 mauled by exotic cats in the United States since 1990. Over that period, 254 cats escaped and 143 were killed.

Kerala Wildlife Department Bungles Tiger Killing

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Tiger mess up now in full light

    P. VENUGOPAL
    E. M. MANOJ
It has now become sufficiently clear that the Kerala Wildlife Department had gone wrong in the task of handling the cattle-lifting tiger that was shot dead by a nervous forest guard on December 2.
The HinduIt has now become sufficiently clear that the Kerala Wildlife Department had gone wrong in the task of handling the cattle-lifting tiger that was shot dead by a nervous forest guard on December 2.

It has now become sufficiently clear that the Kerala Wildlife Department had gone wrong in the task of handling the cattle-lifting tiger that was shot dead by a nervous forest guard on December 2.

The tiger, aged around 12 years, shot dead on a coffee plantation near the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was identified as the same ‘tigress’ that was successfully trapped in a cage on November 14 in another place in the sanctuary and released ‘deep in the forests’ the next day.

A top wildlife official who did not want to be named admitted to The Hindu that it was the same animal. Tiger’s stripes are as dependable as man’s fingerprints to determine the identity of the individual. Each pattern is unique. Photos of the dead tiger and those of the trapped and released tigress were sent by the department to five wildlife institutions in the country for comparison. The reports started reaching the Wildlife Headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. The reports confirm that the animal is the same. It was just that the officials who had captured and released the ‘first tigress’ could not identify its gender.

There are clear protocols on how to deal with a cattle-lifting tiger that is not a man-eater as this one. Tigers are territorial animals. Each grown up tiger establishes authority over a particular territory in the wildlife habitat around it, often fighting out competitors. Only during the mating time and when the cubs are too young to be on their own can the tigers roam together in the same territory. The weaker of the animal will move out of the territory concerned and even die fighting for the territory.

The tiger captured on November 14 and released ‘far away near Karnataka border’ had apparently no other option than to return to the villages on the borders of the sanctuary. It had turned to cattle-lifting since it was too weak to hunt. But the Wildlife Department did not disclose it was a weak animal when it was captured and released. In such instances, the recommended practice is to take care of it in captivity. Sending it back into the wild will result either in its death fighting a stronger tiger or its unavoidable return to cattle-lifting ways.

 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/kerala/tiger-mess-up-now-in-full-light/article4175132.ece

 

Expert disputes finding on tigers

 

Noted conservation biologist K Ullas Karanth has disputed the findings of the Kerala forest department on recent incidents of human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad, Kerala.

 

Karanth, who is the director for science with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), said on Thursday that the ad hoc camera trappings being used by them had led to claims of inflated tiger numbers. They misled and aroused public anxiety and were not beneficial to conservation efforts, he added.

 

Karanth, along with N Samba Kumar and Narendra Patil of WCS India, noted that their organisation along with the Centre for Wildlife Studies had carried out photographic capture-recapture studies of tiger populations for over two decades.

 

It has identified over 600 tigers in this landscape in Karnataka and adjoining area in Tamil Nadu and Kerala (Malenad Mysore Tiger Landscape-MMTL) and the tiger population in Wayanad constitutes only a small part.

 

Their study had noted that this year after November 11, several cases of predation on domestic cattle by a tiger were reported from Begur village outside Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary leading to local protests.

 

Thereafter, the Kerala forest department had box-trapped a tiger in Periya territorial forest range of North Wayanad Division. The tiger had a deep wound on the nose and was emaciated. The officials confirmed it as a female tiger aged around 13 years of age.

 

This animal was released on November 14 at Kurchiyat forest range in Muthanga. In the week following this release, there were reports of more attacks on cattle near the release area leading to protests by local people around Naikkatty village. Forest officials attributed these incidents to the presence of a different tiger.

 

Karanth said that after studying the information using camera trap photos from long-term project titled ‘Meta-population dynamics of tigers in Malenad-Mysore landscape in Karnataka’ and from the image of the tiger released in Muthanga, “We initially identified it as tiger with the number NHT-L104, which was first photo-captured on Bulldozer Road in Nagarahole on February 15, 2005.”

 

“We identified the animal, whose photo was circulated as the ‘second problem tiger’, as ‘Brahma’ a male tiger currently in Mysore Zoo. This tiger was trapped on the fringes of Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, as far back as April 5, 2008,” Karanth said.

 

All the information from the above analysis was communicated to Kerala forest department on November 28 this year, while also offering assistance.

 

Based on the evidence, the WCS scientists were able to provide a permanent ID for this tiger following current protocols. It was confirmed to be a male.

 

This tiger NHT-L104 (NHT-243) is an unusual individual. It is likely that this animal was unable to compete and establish a territory in Nagarahole between 2005 and 2007, when it was a sub-adult, and became a transient moving through the larger landscape involving several parks before it was captured on November 14.

 

Given the high density and reproductive potential of the Nagarahole-Bandipur tiger populations, a surplus of either sub-adult or evicted older tigers is likely to spill over on to the wider landscape. Additionally, parks such as BRT and Mudumalai may also be adding a surplus to this overall population. Thus, conflicts are inevitable on the fringe areas such as Wayanad, Karanth remarked.

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_expert-disputes-finding-on-tigers_1774716

 

 

Zookeeper Mauled to Death by Captive Leopard at Nanping Jiufeng Mountain Zoo

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A zookeeper in Nanping City of southeast China’s Fujian Province, was bitten to death by a leopard Thursday morning.

The fierce beast attacked the breeder in Nanping Jiufeng Mountain Zoo around 8:40am when he opened the cage.

The man was bitten in his neck and died at the scene, Fujian News Radio reported.

The victim, whose name has not been disclosed, was the zoo’s crocodile keeper and was told to substitute for the absent leopard keeper that day.The zoo shot the leopard with an anesthetic gun in order to calm it down. Operations at the zoo have been suspended and no visitors were injured, reports state. (more…)

4 Year Study Shows Tigers 500 Times More Deadly Than Dogs in US

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Dangerous Tigers in Captivity: Ex Situ

Tiger Conflict and Implications for Private Ownership of Exotic Animals

 

All White Tigers are Inbred and Crossbred

All White Tigers are Inbred and Crossbred

P.J. Nyhus,1n R.L. Tilson,2 and J.L. Tomlinson1 1Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2Minnesota Zoological Gardens, Apple Valley, Minnesota

 

The risks associated with tiger attacks on people in the wild are well documented.

 

There may currently be more tigers in captivity than in the wild, but relatively little is known about the risks of injury or death associated with owning and managing captive tigers and other large carnivores. The purpose of this study was to conduct a global assessment of attacks by captive tigers on people, with particular emphasis on cases in the United States. Our analysis of 30 international media sources and additional documents uncovered 59 unique incidents in 1998–2001 in which people were reportedly injured or killed by captive tigers. In the United States, seven people were reportedly killed and at least 27 were injured—a rate of 1.75 fatal attacks and at least nine nonfatal attacks per year. All but one fatal attack in the United States occurred in situations where tigers were privately owned or held in private facilities.

 

Forty-two percent of the victims were classified as visitors, and almost one-quarter of the victims were under the age of 20. These results suggest that the victims underestimated the dangers posed by direct contact with these animals. In this work we review current legislation regarding captive ownership of tigers and other large exotic animals, and contradict claims by those who support private ownership of tigers and other large felids that the risks associated with owning and viewing these animals are insignificant. We conclude that the growing number of people who own tigers and other large exotic animals is cause for concern because of the danger to the animals, the handlers, and the public. The problem of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals has broad implications for tiger and large-carnivore conservation, public health, and animal welfare. We support the regulation of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals, and encourage scientific analysis of this contentious issue. Zoo Biol 22:573–586, 2003. c 2003

 

 

Key words: Panthera tigris; captive management; risk assessment; fatal attacks; exotic pets; ex situ conservation

 

nCorrespondence to: Philip J. Nyhus, Department of Earth and Environment, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604-3003. E-mail: philip.nyhus@fandm.edu

Received for publication August 9, 2002; accepted March 10, 2003.

 

DOI 10.1002/zoo.10117 Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is one of the world’s most endangered large carnivores. As few as 5,000–7,500 animals remain in the wild, spread among hundreds of small, disjunct populations across south, east, and southeast Asia [Nowell and Jackson, 1996; Seidensticker et al., 1999]. Captive breeding programs have been established to maintain viable populations of all five extant subspecies.

 

In North America, approximately 290 tigers are managed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). Altogether, some 800 tigers in captivity are coordinated through a global conservation strategy (GCS) among regional programs in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Asia.

 

In addition to the population of captive tigers in professionally managed zoos, an unknown number of these animals are kept as exotic pets by individuals, and in nonaccredited zoos, circuses, and safari parks. The population of tigers held in such conditions may actually exceed the number of tigers in the wild and in populations actively managed by the world zoological community combined. In the United States, newspapers and other sources have provided unsubstantiated reports that 7,000 [API, 2001] to 10,000 [Peterson, 2002] tigers may be in private hands. However, it is plausible that as few as 5,000 and as many as 12,000 of these animals exist, given the large number of animals that are kept illegally or are not recorded. It has been estimated that several thousand tigers reside in the state of Texas alone [Siderius, 2002]. Most of these tigers are of mixed origin and of unknown lineage [Green, 1999], and thus contribute little if anything to existing conservation programs, such as the AZA Tiger SSP.

 

The dangers of tigers in the wild are well known [Tilson and Nyhus, 1998]. Historically, thousands of people have been killed by wild tigers in Asia [McDougal, 1987; Boomgaard, 2001], and even today tens to hundreds of people are killed by wild tigers annually in tiger-range states. Little is known, however, about the number of people killed or injured by tigers and other large cats in captivity, and no central database tracks these attacks. When captive tigers do attack people, the most serious incidents are frequently reported by the local, national, and even international press.

 

The purpose of this study was to carry out a global assessment of attacks by captive tigers on people, with particular emphasis on attacks in the United States.

 

We began this study out of concern that little was known about the risks of owning large, dangerous carnivores in situations in which regulatory oversight, staff training, and management are often minimal. The issue has been raised by the mass media, and medical journals have described serious and fatal injuries resulting from tiger attacks on adults and children by privately-owned animals [Clark et al., 1991; Oller and Udekwu, 1996; Wiens and Harrison, 1996; Chapenoire et al., 2001].

 

However, much less has been published in the broader wildlife and conservation literature on this subject. We believe this problem of private ownership has serious implications for tiger and large-carnivore conservation, as well as for public health and the welfare of tigers and other large exotic animals in human care.

 

The tiger is the world’s largest cat, one of the most widely recognized species in the world, and an icon of dangerous animals in general. It provides an excellent case study, because a large number of attacks are noted by the media. We recorded data, when it was available, on 1) the number of attacks; 2) the date of the attacks, and the location and context in which they occurred; and 3) the characteristics (e.g., age and sex) of the victims. We concentrated on cases in the United States, and examined the implications of these findings for the management of tigers and large carnivores in

general, and for domestic legislation and policies regarding private ownership of exotic animals in particular. Although this study focuses on tigers, we hope it will initiate additional studies and contribute to broader discussions about the risks and implications of private ownership of all large exotic animals.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

We systematically collected articles about human injuries and deaths inflicted by captive tigers in 1998–2001 using several online search engines—most notably Lexis-Nexis, material collected by the Tiger Information Center (www.5tigers.org), and material sent to us in our professional capacity. Articles from 30 international media sources were used. Several additional internet sources, including sites sponsored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA; www.circuses.com/cattacks.html) and the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF; www.lioc. org), provided additional information and cases.

 

All articles were summarized and coded. Duplicate articles from multiple sources were noted but not included in the final summaries. The locations where the incidents occurred were categorized as 1) zoos, animal parks, and sanctuaries; 2) non-zoo entertainment facilities; and 3) private residences and facilities. Victims were categorized as visitors or handlers (Table 1). Injuries were categorized as serious (requiring emergency medical care) or minor. We recognized from the outset that the number of human injuries reported by the media were likely lower (possibly much lower) than the actual number of injuries. However, we believe these media reports provided the best available data for these analyses.

 

RESULTS

 

In the 4 years covered by the study, the media reported a total of 59 incidents in which people were seriously injured or killed by captive tigers—an average of approximately 15 victims per year (Table 2). In the United States, 27 people were reportedly injured and seven were killed; two were listed as having been attacked, but it was unclear whether they were injured or killed. In 20 of these cases, the injured victims required emergency medical care, in three cases the injuries were minor, and in the rest the severity of the injuries was unclear. Internationally, nine people were reportedly injured, 12 were killed, and two more were either injured or killed by tigers. In six of these cases the injured victims required emergency medical attention; the remaining cases were unclear.

 

In the United States, attacks were reported in Florida (n1/48); Texas (n1/45); Kansas (n1/44); California, Nevada, and Ohio (n1/42 each); and Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota (n1/41 each). One death occurred in a zoo not accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), and the rest occurred where tigers were privately owned or in non-accredited private facilities (Table 2). Tigers in private ownership and non-zoo entertainment

facilities were responsible for 75% of all injuries. Three injuries occurred in facilities accredited by the AZA, including one of the three cases that did not require emergency care. In one of the other two incidents involving nonserious injuries, a man was slightly injured when he tried to remove his partner, who had been fatally attacked by a tiger. Injuries occurred equally between visitors and keepers in entertainment and private ownership situations, but less than half as many visitors as handlers were injured in zoos. Twice as many handlers as visitors were killed in private facilities. Victims ranged from the very young (3 years old) to adults. Seven children under age 10 were attacked by tigers. The two fatalities in this age group were killed by privately owned tigers. Victims were more frequently women in zoos and men in entertainment and private facilities. Attacks occurred most frequently when the victims came too close to the tigers when viewing them (n1/411 victims), handling or moving them (n1/48), being photographed with them (n1/47), or feeding them (n1/44), or the tiger escaped (n1/44).

 

Internationally, attacks by captive tigers were reported in India (n1/46); China (n1/43); Spain (n1/42); Australia and Russia (n1/42 each); and Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Poland, Yemen, the United Kingdom, and Canada (n1/41 each). Reported attacks were most frequent among visitors to zoos and animal parks. Visitors accounted for seven of the eight deaths reported in zoos and animal parks, and just over half of all reported deaths (Table 2). Only keepers were reportedly killed in entertainment and private ownership situations. Three times as many men were killed in zoos as women. Victims were commonly attacked when they came too close to the tigers when viewing them (n1/48 victims), feeding the animals (n1/44), or during a performance (n1/43), or the tiger escaped (n1/45).

 

Collectively, the ‘‘typical’’ victim was an adult male handler who was injured by a tiger in his care. However, everyone coming in contact with tigers was at risk.

 

Approximately 42% of all victims were classified as ‘‘visitors,’’ 24% of victims were under the age of 20, and 30% of the victims (when gender was identified) were females. Thirty-two percent of all victims, and 42% of victims killed were categorized as being too close to the tiger when viewing them. Risks associated with handling and moving tigers, dealing with escaped tigers, and feeding tigers were also high. One in five of the total reported injuries occurred when people were having their picture taken with tigers.

 

DISCUSSION

 

It is extremely difficult to gather accurate information about the risk of injury or death from captive tigers because there is no central database documenting such information. The mass media reports that form the basis of this study were considered to be the best available proxy for the true number of incidents. We consider the number of reported domestic deaths from tiger attacks to be fairly accurate, as such incidents are widely and repeatedly reported by different media sources when they occur. We suspect that the number of reported injuries is probably only a small fraction of the true number of incidents, based on a survey of owners of large cats conducted by the FCF (see Implications for Private Ownership below), and because most incidents (particularly minor ones) are not newsworthy, or it may be against the best interest of the owner/handler to publicize the information [Chapenoire et al., 2001]. This is particularly true in the summary of international reports, because only extreme cases involving visitors or dramatic cases of handlers being attacked would likely have been picked up by the international media.

 

Nevertheless, despite the inherent limitations of using media reports to document such attacks, several conclusions can still be drawn from these data.

 

First, it is clear that tigers in captivity are dangerous animals that can cause serious harm to visitors and handlers alike any time they come in direct contact with these animals. Despite the appearance of pseudo-domestication in some trained tigers, these animals retain their predatory instincts and neural-visceral reflexes, and they can inflict serious wounds using their teeth or claws suddenly and without forewarning [Wiens and Harrison, 1996; Chapenoire et al., 2001].

 

Tigers (and other large cats) have the ability to cause significant trauma and hidden injuries [Wiens and Harrison, 1996]. The most common location for these injuries is the nape of the neck—tigers and other large cats can realign their jaws so that they can bite down between a victim’s vertebrae and into the spinal cord [Oller and Udekwu, 1996]. Bite wounds can also result in significant bacterial infections [Goldstein, 1992].

 

It was apparent in the majority of attacks that the victims probably underestimated the dangers posed by direct contact with these animals. Safety precautions, such as cages or chains, were often not sufficiently robust, or people ignored basic safety precautions by circumventing the effectiveness of these barriers.

 

Most attacks occurred when the visitors or handlers approached the animals (e.g., they came too close to the cages, entered the cages to clean them or feed the animals, or were trying to move or otherwise handle the animals). Twelve people were harmed while getting their pictures taken with tigers or during tiger performances. In three cases, the victims left the safety of their vehicles in animal-park safaris and were mauled by tigers while they were exposed.

 

Second, in the United States the probability that fatal attacks or injuries will occur is highest in situations where tigers are kept as exotic pets, whether in households or in private ‘‘roadside zoos.’’ This may reflect in part the likelihood that facilities and training are less controlled and there may be a greater opportunity for people, particularly children, to come in contact with these animals through petting, feeding, photo opportunities, and other situations that are less likely to occur in accredited institutions.

 

The number of children killed and injured by privately-owned tigers is notable.

Children are at particular risk for several reasons. Young children are naturally curious and may not have the same inhibitions as adults when approaching a large carnivore inside or outside a cage. A child’s smaller body size increases the potential for serious or lethal injury. Size also appears to influence the attack response of tigers. Large cats instinctively strike the neck and shoulder of their prey to disable it, resulting in serious craniofacial and cervical spinal injuries [Leyhausen, 1979]. The small size of children may help to trigger this attack response [Oller and Udekwu, 1996].

 

Predatory behavior is also triggered by movement, making human children particularly stimulating as ‘‘prey’’ for big cats. For example, large cats, such as tigers and leopards, can frequently be seen stalking small children running and playing outside the animals’ enclosures at zoos. In the United States, the majority of attacks by mountain lions in the wild involve children, and 86% of fatal attacks are on children [Rollins and Spencer, 1995].

 

Third, people are at considerable risk when they visit international zoos. In part, this may reflect a lack of respect for the power of these animals by the victims.  In several instances the tigers were provoked by visitors (e.g., people threw stones at or urinated on the tiger) or the victims actually entered the tiger’s enclosure. At present, no international zoo associations have accreditation programs similar to those administered by AZA; however, accreditation programs are being developed by the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). It is likely that tigers seriously injure and kill their private owners in countries outside the United States as well, but this information is probably even less likely to be reported by the mainstream media than it is in the United States.

 

Implications for Private Ownership

 

The risk of a fatal attack by a tiger in the United States is low by absolute standards (1.75 deaths/year in the United States), but the risk of injury is at least nine attacks per year, and is almost certainly much greater given the large number of injuries that are not reported in the media. This level of risk is well within the range of risk that has resulted in ordinances and laws controlling some breeds of domestic dogs and other exotic animals.

 

The American Veterinary Medical Association [AVM, 2000], the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [APHIS, 2000], the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the AZA [Butler, 2001] oppose the possession of certain exotic animals, including tigers and other large cats, by individuals. APHIS notes that most people do not have the knowledge or experience to handle dangerous animals, such as tigers. Some owners take their animals to inappropriate locations, such as schools or shopping malls, and many may not understand that a large cat that is ‘‘playing’’ can be extremely dangerous [APHIS, 2000]. In addition to the risk of harm to owners and others coming in contact with them, the tigers themselves often do not receive adequate health care, nutrition, or freedom to exercise, and may be exposed to unnecessary surgical procedures, such as declawing [APHIS, 2000].

 

The AZA in particular has long opposed ownership of exotic animals as pets.

 

The AZA Felid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) has stated that it strongly opposes private ownership of wild felids as exotic pets [Mellen et al., 2000]. The AZA Tiger SSP management group also does not endorse the private ownership of tigers in non-AZA-accredited institutions or in institutions that fail to meet the recommendations set forth by the AZA Roadside Zoo Task Force [Tilson et al., 2002]. Although one or two AZA member facilities still handle hand-raised tigers in public places or have staff who enter enclosures with tigers, the AZA is concerned that in addition to the risks to owners and animals, privately-owned tigers and other large felids do not contribute to scientifically-managed conservation programs established to maintain genetic variation and viability in captive populations. Moreover, few of these nonaccredited facilities conduct tiger field conservation and scientific research activities that are comparable to those of accredited zoos and their conservation partners. Furthermore, the consequences of tiger–human conflict are often tragic for the tiger, which is often euthanized or moved. During the 2002 Tiger SSP Master Plan meeting, there was a consensus among the participants that handling tigers in public places puts the public at risk of injury or death, promotes private ownership and a false sense of security in handling big cats, and results in the animal losing dignity as an ambassador of the wild [Tilson et al., 2002]. The AZA Animal Welfare Committee is currently drafting a policy statement on the use of animals in entertainment.

 

At present, 12 states ban the private possession of exotic animals (Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming), seven states have a partial ban (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, and Virginia), and 15 states require a license or permit to possess exotic animals (Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas) [API, 2001; Duckett, 2001]. In addition, a growing number of counties and cities have passed ordinances that regulate or ban the private ownership of certain exotic animals.

 

A comparison of exotic-animal regulations in states with the most reported tiger attacks (Florida, Texas, and Kansas) is illustrative of the different laws in place in different areas. In Florida, tigers and other large cats (Panthera) can not be kept for personal use, but can be held by commercial exhibitors. Smaller ‘‘class II’’ animals can be kept as pets. All permits require adherence to structural cage requirements. In Texas, a state law passed in 2001 requires counties to regulate or prohibit the ownership of dangerous wild animals, including tigers. There had been little regulation in the state after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stopped regulating exotic animals in 1997 [Siderius, 2002]. Registration now requires a permit fee, compliance with caging requirements, $100,000 liability insurance coverage, and an acceptable veterinary care program. In Kansas, exotic felines may be kept, bred, sold, imported, and purchased, with no limits in time or number. Wildlife must be confined, and all activity is subject to federal or state rules and regulations. Overall, many state regulations regarding the ownership of exotic dangerous animals are limited in scope. To address this, the AZA Roadside Zoo Task Force has drafted and is currently distributing model state legislation for exotic animals [Baker, 2001], with the hope that it will result in stronger and more effective state regulations governing exotic animal ownership.

 

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulates the import, export, possession, taking, sale, and transport of endangered species, but does not regulate private possession [API, 2001]. Tigers and other large carnivores are widely available through paper and electronic outlets, such as the Animal Finders Guide (www.animalfindersguide.com), and other avenues [Green, 1999].

 

In 2000, the Shambala Wild Animal Protection Act (H.R. 5057) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in an attempt to amend the Animal Welfare Act to establish restrictions and controls on the killing, personal possession, care, breeding, import, export, transportation, and transfer of possession of protected wild animals, including tigers. The bill proposed that all owners of protected wildlife be required to obtain a permit. Federal, state, and local governments; research facilities; zoos; animal parks; and wildlife sanctuaries already regulated or licensed by federal or state governments would have been exempt.

 

Permits would be handled by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture, which would require information from applicants regarding age, experience, staff training, proof of liability insurance, proof of veterinary care, compliance with applicable state and local laws, proof of appropriate local license and surety bond information, and provisions for final disposition of the animal. The act would have enabled the Secretary of Agriculture to establish housing and care standards developed by zoo biologists and veterinarians, both to protect public safety and to ensure the proper care and welfare of the animal.  However, the bill died in the House Agricultural Committee and has not yet been reintroduced.

 

In January 2003 the ‘‘Captive Wildlife Safety Act’’ (H.R. 1006, S. 269), backed by the AZA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, was introduced. This bill would prohibit anyone from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing in interstate commerce prohibited wildlife species (defined as any live tiger, lion, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar) by amending the Lacey Act amendments of 1981. The Lacey Act already prohibits the import, export, selling, acquisition, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of U.S. law or in interstate or foreign commerce involving fish, wildlife, and plants protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or by state law. Zoos, circuses, and research facilities already inspected by a federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would be exempt. Accredited sanctuaries and universities, licensed rehabilitators and veterinarians, incorporated human societies, and federally-licensed and inspected breeders or dealers would also be exempt. The bill was introduced in the House by Representative Howard ‘‘Buck’’ McKeon (R-CA). Senators Jeffords (D-VT), Ensign (R-NV), Wyden (D-OR), Levin (D-MI), and Smith (R-OR) introduced the Senate version. At the time this manuscript was submitted, the House bill had 16 cosponsors and the Senate bill had eight cosponsors.

 

Carole’s note:  The Captive Wildlife Safety Act did pass in Dec. 2003

 

Supporters of private ownership of tigers and other large cats, such as the Phoenix Exotic Wildlife Association, Inc. (phoenixexotics. org), and the FCF (www.lioc. org), present several arguments against restrictive legislation. They claim that many owners of exotic animals are law-abiding citizens who care for their animals and the safety of others, and should not be punished for the careless or unsafe actions of others. Supporters maintain that they have a constitutional right to keep exotic animals on their own land if they practice proper husbandry. Finally, it has been argued that the risk of injury or death by exotic animals is low compared to other activities that remain unregulated.

 

The first argument is similar to that used by owners of dangerous breeds of dogs. In the case of large cats, many states, counties, and municipalities have already found that the risk of public harm outweighs the interests of private individuals to own these animals. The second argument may be the most compelling, but considerable precedent already exists for regulating the possession of animals. For example, the ESA allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prosecute individuals who illegally possess endangered species, and under the Lacey Act the federal government can prosecute people who have obtained animals from other countries or states illegally [API, 2001].

 

The risk of serious injury or death by a tiger in captivity is serious. Efforts to minimize these risks by comparing the total number of injuries or fatal attacks to the total number of other sources of injury or death, such as dog bites, fail to take into consideration that a relatively small number of animals are responsible for a relatively large number of attacks. Also, the harm a tiger or other large carnivore is capable of inflicting is tremendous.

 

Data used to support the third argument comes from an internal survey carried out by the FCF in 1998–1999 (http:// legal.lioc.org/Risk. html). This study examined anonymous survey responses from 126 private owners of large felines (a total of 5,241 cat years of experience) and concluded that the risk of injury associated with private captive husbandry of wild felines is comparable to that associated with ownership of domestic dogs. The study reported 635 injuries, of which 573 required first aid (453 injuries to owners, 104 to family members and employees, 13 resulting from authorized contact by members of the public, and three resulting from unauthorized contact by members of the public), and 52 required professional care (38 injuries to owners, 16 to family members and employees, four resulting from authorized contact by members of the public, and four resulting from unauthorized contact by members of the public). Sixty-two escapes were reported.

 

These data and conclusions are interesting and deserve further scrutiny. First, they suggest that injuries, including those that require medical attention, are probably more common than would be suggested by our review of mass media reports. Second, while most injuries were to owners, a sizeable number of victims were family members or the public. Third, escapes clearly do happen, which implies a potential risk to the public of attack by large felids kept as pets.

 

Although the FCF study was not limited to tigers, it confirms our observations that private owners and keepers of large cats in captivity are most at risk of injury, but visitors and the public also face risks from contact with large felines.

 

The FCF study also had some serious limitations. For example, the data were not collected from a random sample of respondents and likely self-selects for individuals predisposed to answering such a survey—those private owners who take their responsibilities seriously, follow legal regulations, and have permits. The study recorded no fatal injuries, and thus the authors concluded that the risk of fatal injury from captive husbandry of nondomestic cats is less than 1.9E-4 per cat year exposure.

 

According to data available from the CDC, in 1995–1998, 401 deaths were reported for all types of animal bites and stings. Using aggregated population estimates, this is a crude rate of 0.04 bite and sting deaths per 100,000. As a comparison, from 1979 through 1988, dog attacks claimed at least 15 lives annually in the United States (pit bull breeds were responsible for 41.6% of these deaths) [Sacks et al., 1996]. From 1989 to 1994, dogs were responsible for 109 deaths, an estimated 7.1 deaths per 100 million people per year [Sacks et al., 1996]. While the total number of dog-related fatalities is greater than the number of fatal tiger attacks, these numbers hide the fact that an estimated 35% of American households owned an estimated 52 million dogs in 1994 [Sacks et al., 1996]. The CDC recently estimated that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, almost half of  whom are children under age 12 [Mitka, 2001]. Approximately 334,000 people are treated in emergency rooms, and another 466,000 are treated for dog bites in other medical settings [Mitka, 2001].

 

If the ratio of animals to fatal attacks is compared, tigers are considerably more dangerous than dogs. Using the 1994 figure of 52 million dogs in private ownership [Sacks et al., 1996], and an annualized rate of fatal attacks of 18 deaths per year, fatal dog attacks occur at a rate of 0.000000346 (3.46154E-07) fatal attacks/ year/total population of dogs. Fatal tiger attacks (1.75/year) occur at a rate of 0.00025 (assuming 7,000 tigers) to 0.000125 (assuming 14,000 tigers) fatal attacks/ year/total population of tigers, a rate that is orders of magnitude greater than that for dogs. In other words,

adjusting for the vastly greater number of dogs in private ownership, tigers are 360–720 times more likely to be involved in a fatal attack than dogs.

This is significant because dog attacks have already prompted widespread efforts to enact dangerous-dog laws and efforts to adopt restrictions on certain breeds.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

1. Tigers are dangerous animals that retain their wild instincts, and they must be treated with extreme caution. The large (and possibly growing) number of people who own tigers is a cause for concern.

 

2. This study shows the significant danger posed by captive tigers, even when they are cared for by professionals and held in facilities that take all required safety precautions. The risk of tigers causing human injury or death is highest when this risk is underestimated, such as when tigers are kept as pets, used as a prop for photographs, or people come in direct contact with them to feed, clean cages, or pet them—with or without a cage separating people and tigers.

 

3. A growing number of states regulate the private possession of exotic animals. We suggest that effective federal legislation is needed to reduce the risks posed by tigers to people, and to encourage the safe and humane treatment of tigers and, ultimately, other dangerous exotic animals. As an alternative, individual states should be encouraged to take similar measures until such federal legislation can be enacted, but it is unclear whether such a fractured approach will lead to real change in many of the states with the greatest problems. We also support efforts by the AZA, APHIS, and other institutions to educate the public about why wild animals do not make good pets, and to encourage and enforce the highest ethical guidelines for animal care.

 

4. We are concerned that insufficient attention has been given to this matter. It is likely that more tigers live in captivity than in the wild, yet there is little discussion in the scientific literature regarding the implications of this trend for tiger conservation and welfare, and public health and safety. We hope this study will encourage additional studies and further discussion about the management of tigers, as well as other dangerous animals, in captivity.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

We gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance of Janet Tilson and Anne-Marie Alden (the Tiger Information Center), and Kathy Traylor-Holzer and Martha Caron (Minnesota Zoo) for their assistance in providing data and/or reviewing earlier drafts of this paper. Reference librarians Angie Norell (Minnesota Zoo) and Dale Riordan (Franklin and Marshall College) provided substantial support with literature reviews for this study. Maria Mensching, a student at Colby College, generously entered some of this information into a database. Michael Hutchins (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) and an anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments on an earlier version of this work.

 

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