Tiger That Bit Omaha Vet Headed to Wichita
Posted: Feb 12, 2009 10:57 PM EST Updated: Feb 13, 2009 01:15 AM EST
by Rebecca Gannon
A tiger who bit a Nebraska veterinarian will soon have a new home in Wichita.
The tiger, George, is slated to be one of four tigers in the new Sedgwick County Zoo exhibit. “He did what Tigers do,” said the director of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. “They bite people.” The vet in Omaha is doing fine; he says he’s just a little sore.
That tiger was under a mix of anesthesia drugs. “Each tiger is different in how it responds to drugs, and I think that’s the case here,” said Dr. Sandy Wilson of the Sedgwick County Zoo. “It seemed to be perfectly asleep, it aroused briefly, just long enough to bite him on the arm, and then it went back to sleep.”
She says it takes at least 20 minutes for the animal to fall asleep, at least four people to make sure it stays asleep.
“Usually we have one person who is focused on just the animal’s head,” explained Wilson. “And so they’re kind of stationed there by the animal’s head, with their hands on their neck, so if the animal should move just a little bit, they might be able to have control of the animal long enough for us to give some more drugs, or get out of the stall.”
The zoo has many varieties of big cats — like lions, leopards, and cougars. “They’re all pretty similar in their requirements,” said Sedgwick County Zoo Mammal Curator Mike Quick.
“There’s also differences between different tigers, as there would be with people. Some tigers are friendlier than others, some are more wary.”
He said as long as everyone pays attention, there won’t be any animal bites. The zoo hasn’t had any yet.
The tiger exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo opens Memorial Weekend.